Hello, and welcome to dentalcare.com's cariology course that focuses on diagnosis. This is part six of a 10-part series entitled Caries Process and Prevention Strategies. This course introduces the dental professional to the importance of caries diagnosis in prevention of the disease, as well as the intricate link between caries diagnosis and treatment. The two main methods of lesion diagnosis used today, the visual-tactile or visual methods and bitewing radiography, are discussed, particularly with regard to their application in the ICDAS system. Topics also include newer approaches to caries diagnosis and management, a brief discussion of why too early caries lesion diagnosis can be counterproductive and the benefits of e- enlisting the help of pediatricians in diagnosing caries in children.
First, let's consider a clinical significance snapshot, the type of question you might encounter in your practice. The question being what is the difference between diagnosis and assessment of dental caries? Dental caries assessment identifies the presence or absence of disease indicators, and diagnosis links the level of appropriate care to the stage of the disease. Diagnosis is performed at the tooth surface or tooth level. Risk assessment is conducted at the patient level and should include evaluation of medical and dental histories, biological, social and behavioral risk factors and all the clinical evidence gained from a thorough examination using visual and tactile methods. Further evidence gained from other tests such as bitewing radiography is also considered.