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J Am Dent Assoc. 2019 Sep;150(9):755-765. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2019.03.024. Epub 2019 Jul 16.

Management of initial carious lesions: Iowa survey.



The authors explore Iowa dentists' agreement with the International Caries Classification and Management System (ICCMS) in the nonsurgical management of initial carious lesions in patients at low, moderate, and high caries risk and identify factors related to their agreement.


Electronic surveys were mailed to 916 actively practicing dentists who are alumni of the College of Dentistry at The University of Iowa. Questions included clinical scenarios that used text, clinical photographs, and radiographic images of initial carious lesions. Dentists were asked what type of treatment they would recommend. Treatment options included no treatment, nonsurgical treatment, or surgical treatment. Logistic regression analyses were used to assess associations among agreement with ICCMS, characteristics of the dentist's practice, and patients' caries risk level.


A total of 138 Iowa dentists responded to the survey. Agreement with ICCMS regarding nonsurgical management of initial carious lesions for patients at low, moderate, and high risk levels were 73%, 59%, and 51% respectively. Compared with their counterparts, dentists who agreed with the recommendations for nonsurgical treatment were more likely to dry the teeth during caries detection (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02 to 12.67, P = .0468), use magnification (95% CI, 1.16 to 7.17, P = .0225) for caries detection, have graduated less than 20 years ago (P = .0024), practice in public health settings (P = .0089), and perform a caries risk assessment (95% CI, 1.10 to 4.29, P = .0262).


Dentists who dry teeth, use magnification for caries detection, graduated in the past 20 years, practice in a public health setting, and perform a caries risk assessment were significantly more likely to make decisions that were consistent with the guidelines of the ICCMS.


Knowledge of evidence-based options personalized for a patient's risk status is essential for applying the best management of initial caries lesions.


ICCMS; Iowa; caries risk assessment; dental caries management; dentists knowledge; dentists practice; initial caries lesions; surveys and questionnaire

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