Assessing patients' caries risk

Margherita Fontana, Domenick T. Zero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

139 Scopus citations


Background. Caries management historically has focused on the removal of cavitated carious tissue and restoration of the tooth. Overwiew. Assessing a patient's risk of developing caries is a vital component of caries management. A comprehensive caries assessment should consider factors such as past and current caries experience, diet, fluoride exposure, presence of cariogenic bacteria, salivary status, general medical history, behavioral and physical factors, and medical and demographic characteristics that may affect caries development. A caries risk assessment also should consider factors that may challenge the patient's ability to maintain good oral hygiene (for example, crowded dentition, deep fissures, wide open restorative margins or placement of oral appliances). Conclusions and Practical Implications. The authors review the importance of caries risk assessment as a prerequisite for appropriate preventive and treatment intervention decisions and provide some practical information on how general practitioners can incorporate caries risk assessment into the management of caries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1231-1239
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


  • Dental caries
  • Disease management
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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