More conservative (selective or stepwise) approaches to carious tissue removal, instead of non-selective removal, reduces tissue loss and pulp exposure risk. In selective removal, carious dentin at the cavity base, close to the pulp, is permanently sealed beneath a restoration, while in stepwise removal, carious dentin is temporarily sealed and then removed in a second step. The hardness of the remaining dentin tissue, judged by tactile feedback during examination, is the main guiding factor for carious tissue removal.
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