A comparison of senior dental students and normative standards with regard to caries assessment and treatment decisions to restore occlusal surfaces of permanent teeth

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Statement of problem. Even though assessments of borderline restorative items in terms of accuracy and interexaminer variation have been reported, no attempt has been made to simultaneously evaluate diagnostic and treatment planning decisions using objective normative standards. Purpose. This study established the accuracy of caries presence assessment as compared with gold standards, interexaminer agreement in assessment of caries presence and restorative needs, and influences of perceived caries status and restoration quality on treatment planning in borderline restorative situations. Materials and methods. Fifteen senior dental students in Mexico City (66% women; mean age 23.2 years) evaluated predetermined areas in 109 restored and unrestored posterior teeth in an in vitro model. Teeth were subsequently assessed for restoration quality and the presence of enamel and dentinal caries by use of histologic and specific dye techniques. Student's t test, Cohen's kappa, and Pearson's correlation analyses were used to analyze the data. Results. There were significant caries misdiagnoses and substantial overtreatment proposed. In a few instances, teeth were left untreated, but usually they were programmed for restoration. Interexaminer agreement varied markedly and was not high. However, performance while correctly detecting lesions was better than in treatment planning. Conclusion. There was a high correlation between a diagnosis of caries and restorative treatment in unrestored teeth; the correlation was lower for restored teeth, although they were allocated to restorative treatment more often. This difference hinged on perceived quality of the restoration, an important factor in the frequency of proposed re-restoration. (J Prosthet Dent 1998;79:596-603.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-603
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Prosthetic Dentistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery

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