Clinical Decision-Making in Caries Management: Role of Caries Detection and Diagnosis

  • Margherita FontanaEmail author
  • Marie-Charlotte D. N. J. M. Huysmans


Effective management of dental caries throughout the life course of an individual depends on an ongoing process that is characterized first by early detection and diagnosis of existing caries lesions at the tooth level, and then an assessment of caries activity and risk, both at the tooth and patient levels. This information, together with an understanding of the patient’s needs and desires, available evidence supporting treatment alternatives, and the dentist’s clinical expertise, can then be used to reach a clinical decision on effective strategies to use to control existing lesions and prevent occurrence of new caries lesions. The outcomes of these strategies need to be monitored over time, following the same process. This chapter will discuss general factors that need to be considered during clinical decision-making (i.e., evidence, patient, and dentist), specific factors related to caries lesion characteristics (i.e., lesion cavitation, cleansability, and activity), and overall risk that influence the decision-making process.


Dental caries Decision-making Critical thinking Detection Diagnosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margherita Fontana
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marie-Charlotte D. N. J. M. Huysmans
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and EndodonticsUniversity of Michigan School DentistryAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of DentistryRadboud University Medical CenterNijmegenNetherlands

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