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Br Dent J. 2017 Aug 11;223(3):215-222. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2017.672.

Contemporary operative caries management: consensus recommendations on minimally invasive caries removal.

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Conservative &MI Dentistry, King's College London Dental Institute at Guy's Hospital, King's Health Partners, London, Floor 26, Tower Wing, Guy's Dental Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London, SE1 9RT, UK.
Department of Oral Function and Prosthetic Dentistry, College of Dental Sciences, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Department of Operative and Preventive Dentistry, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany.
Paediatric Dentistry, Dundee Dental Hospital and School, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK.


The International Caries Consensus Collaboration (ICCC) presented recommendations on terminology, on carious tissue removal and on managing cavitated carious lesions. It identified 'dental caries' as the name of the disease that dentists should manage, and the importance of controlling the activity of existing cavitated lesions to preserve hard tissues, maintain pulp sensibility and retain functional teeth in the long term. The ICCC recommended the level of hardness (soft, leathery, firm, and hard dentine) as the criterion for determining the clinical consequences of the disease and defined new strategies for carious tissue removal: 1) Selective removal of carious tissue - including selective removal to soft dentine and selective removal to firm dentine; 2) stepwise removal - including stage 1, selective removal to soft dentine, and stage 2, selective removal to firm dentine 6 to 12 months later; and 3) non-selective removal to hard dentine - formerly known as complete caries removal (a traditional approach no longer recommended). Adoption of these terms will facilitate improved understanding and communication among researchers, within dental educators and the wider clinical dentistry community. Controlling the disease in cavitated carious lesions should be attempted using methods which are aimed at biofilm removal or control first. Only when cavitated carious dentine lesions are either non-cleansable or can no longer be sealed, are restorative interventions indicated. Carious tissue is removed purely to create conditions for long-lasting restorations. Bacterially contaminated or demineralised tissues close to the pulp do not need to be removed. The evidence and, therefore these recommendations, supports minimally invasive carious lesion management, delaying entry to, and slowing down, the destructive restorative cycle by preserving tooth tissue, maintaining pulp sensibility and retaining the functional tooth-restoration complex long-term.

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