Influence of contact points on the performance of caries detection methods in approximal surfaces of primary molars: an in vivo study

Ribeiro, Apoena A; Purger, Flávia; Rodrigues, Jonas A; Oliveira, Patrícia R A; Lussi, Adrian; Monteiro, Antonio Henrique; Alves, Haimon D L; Assis, Joaquim T; Vasconcellos, Adalberto B (2015). Influence of contact points on the performance of caries detection methods in approximal surfaces of primary molars: an in vivo study. Caries research, 49(2), pp. 99-108. Karger 10.1159/000368562

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This in vivo study aimed to evaluate the influence of contact points on the approximal caries detection in primary molars, by comparing the performance of the DIAGNOdent pen and visual-tactile examination after tooth separation to bitewing radiography (BW). A total of 112 children were examined and 33 children were selected. In three periods (a, b, and c), 209 approximal surfaces were examined: (a) examiner 1 performed visual-tactile examination using the Nyvad criteria (EX1); examiner 2 used DIAGNOdent pen (LF1) and took BW; (b) 1 week later, after tooth separation, examiner 1 performed the second visual-tactile examination (EX2) and examiner 2 used DIAGNOdent again (LF2); (c) after tooth exfoliation, surfaces were directly examined using DIAGNOdent (LF3). Teeth were examined by computed microtomography as a reference standard. Analyses were based on diagnostic thresholds: D1: D 0 = health, D 1 –D 4 = disease; D2: D 0 , D 1 = health, D 2 –D 4 = disease; D3: D 0 –D 2 = health, D 3 , D 4 = disease. At D1, the highest sensitivity/specificity were observed for EX1 (1.00)/LF3 (0.68), respectively. At D2, the highest sensitivity/ specificity were observed for LF3 (0.69)/BW (1.00), respectively. At D3, the highest sensitivity/specificity were observed for LF3 (0.78)/EX1, EX2 and BW (1.00). EX1 showed higher accuracy values than LF1, and EX2 showed similar values to LF2. We concluded that the visual-tactile examination showed better results in detecting sound surfaces and approximal caries lesions without tooth separation. However, the effectiveness of approximal caries lesion detection of both methods was increased by the absence of contact points. Therefore, regardless of the method of detection, orthodontic separating elastics should be used as a complementary tool for the diagnosis of approximal noncavitated lesions in primary molars.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Lussi, Adrian


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Eveline Carmen Schuler

Date Deposited:

16 Mar 2016 16:11

Last Modified:

10 Sep 2017 13:21

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Caries detection, Laser fluorescence, Noncavitated lesions




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