Caries Lesion Diagnosis: Visual–Tactile Methods

Visual and tactile methods typically go hand in hand, because most dentists use dental probes and other tools to examine teeth during the clinical examination. The exam can be annually, twice a year, or more frequently, depending on the dentist’s recommendation. The first visual indication of caries in enamel is generally a small white lesion on smooth surfaces or a light to dark brown lesion in pits or fissures, where demineralization has occurred under the dental plaque.2,3,7 However, grayish lesions also can be seen at the level of dentin, and in more advanced stages, caries can appear as open cavities on enamel, dentin layers, or all the way to the pulp.2,3