Caries risk assessment in children: how accurate are we?
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To summarise the findings of recent systematic reviews (SR) covering caries risk assessment in children, updated with recent primary studies.
A search for relevant papers published 2012–2014 was conducted in electronic databases. The systematic reviews were quality assessed with the AMSTAR tool and the primary publications according to the Cochrane handbook. The quality was rated as low, moderate, or high risk of bias. The findings were descriptively synthesised and the quality of evidence was graded according to GRADE. For the recommendations of practice, the SIGN scores were used (recommendation levels A–D).
Three SR, three guidelines, and five papers, not considered in previous SR, were identified and formed the base for the present summary and recommendations. One of the systematic reviews and three of the primary publications were of moderate risk of bias, while the rest displayed a high risk of bias.
Based on the present summary of literature, it may be concluded: (1) a caries risk assessment should be carried out at the child’s first dental visit and reassessments should be done during childhood (D); (2) multivariate models display a better accuracy than the use of single predictors and this is especially true for preschool children (C); (3) there is no clearly superior method to predict future caries and no evidence to support the use of one model, program, or technology before the other (C); and (4) the risk category should be linked to appropriate preventive care with recall intervals based on the individual need (C).
KeywordsCaries Children Dental Prediction Risk tools
The input and discussions with Professor Margherita Fontana, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, is gratefully acknowledged.
Conflicts of interest
The author has no conflict of interest to declare.
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