The most commonly used criteria for assessing the depth of caries lesions are as follows:
Timing of Bitewing Radiography
For populations with low caries prevalence, or in individuals who are at low risk for caries based on their medical and dental history, yearly bitewing radiographs are no longer justified.24 Instead, the decision to use radiography should depend on the benefit to the individual patient as it relates to the risk and cost of low-dose radiation exposure. Studies have confirmed that in low-risk populations, intervals of up to 3 years between bitewing radiographs do not jeopardize dental health.25 Based on epidemiological data, four key ages have been identified when bitewing examinations are beneficial.26 These are at:
In adults, the caries process is slow compared to children and adolescents, but rapid behavior and lifestyle changes can quickly increase caries risk and progression. Keeping an eye out for these changes by taking a patient’s medical and dental history can help a dentist decide when it might be useful to do a bitewing examination. Special attention should be paid to the third molar and distal surface of the second molar because the location is usually associated with plaque removal difficulty.2
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