Accuracy of tactile assessment in order to detect proximal cavitation of caries lesions in vitro.

Paris, S; Schwendicke, F; Soviero, V; Meyer-Lückel, Hendrik (2019). Accuracy of tactile assessment in order to detect proximal cavitation of caries lesions in vitro. Clinical oral investigations, 23(7), pp. 2907-2912. Springer-Verlag 10.1007/s00784-018-02794-9

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OBJECTIVES Discriminating non-cavitated from cavitated proximal lesions without tooth separation is only limitedly possible using visual-radiographic assessment alone. We evaluated how additional tactile assessment might increase the accuracy of this discrimination in vitro. METHODS Surface integrity of 46 primary molars with proximal lesions extending radiographically into outer third of dentin (ICDAS-codes: 2 n = 34, 3 n = 8 and 5 n = 4) were mounted in groups of two in manikin heads and independently assessed by three examiners using visual-radiographic and additional tactile assessment using a cow-horn-ended explorer with or without gingival displacement. After examination, lesion surfaces were evaluated for possible damage using scanning-electronic microscopy. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed for evaluating if tactile assessment and gingival displacement significantly affected accuracy. RESULTS Tactile assessment significantly increased sensitivity of detecting cavities (p < 0.001, ANOVA), but decreased specificity (p < 0.05). Sensitivities/specificities varied between 33 (8)%/96 (1)% and 86 (6)%/84 (5)%. Gingival displacement had no significant impact on accuracy (p > 0.05). Scanning-electron microscopy revealed no cavitation. CONCLUSIONS In vitro, tactile assessment of proximal surfaces was useful and safe. CLINICAL RELEVANCE Analysis of the cavitation level by using a cow-horn-ended probe might be leading to useful information in addition to bitewing assessment under clinical circumstances.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > School of Dental Medicine > Department of Preventive, Restorative and Pediatric Dentistry

UniBE Contributor:

Meyer-Lückel, Hendrik


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Hendrik Meyer-Lückel

Date Deposited:

15 Apr 2019 18:19

Last Modified:

22 Oct 2019 18:56

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Caries Detection Diagnosis Explorer Probing Proximal lesion




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