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Press release


A paradigm shift in treating dental caries

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Experts call for new treatment recommendations

Dental caries (tooth decay), which affects approximately 98% of the population in Europe, is now by far the most common dental disease in industrialized countries. In conjunction with a group of international experts, researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin are now calling for a less invasive approach to treatment. Their recommendations have been published in the journal Advances in Dental Research*.

Dental caries develops in the presence of certain bacteria whose metabolic breakdown products attack tooth enamel, thereby causing decay. Left untreated, dental caries gradually erodes the structure of affected teeth, leading to loss of function; over time, it may even lead to tooth loss. Until recently, the complete removal of carious tissue using a dental drill had been regarded as inevitable.

A team comprising Charité-based dental specialists and 23 international experts has now published a challenge to this clinical doctrine. Their consensus paper, which outlines new clinical recommendations on carious tissue removal, suggests that selective removal is likely to result in better treatment outcomes. Selective removal means that some of the carious tissue may be left behind. How much of the affected tissue is removed depends on the depth of the lesion. “In deep lesions, it is acceptable to leave some carious tissue if it is in proximity to the pulp. This can protect the tooth against pulp tissue damage, which can occur during cleaning,” explains Dr. Schwendicke from Charité's Department of Restorative and Preventive Dentistry.

Naturally, preventing the occurrence of carious lesions remains the primary aim. Preventive measures include a healthy diet, effective oral health practices and regular dental check-ups. This is why Charité and the General Dental Council of Berlin (Zahnärztekammer Berlin) work to ensure that the availability of oral health education and information is not restricted to events such as the Oral Health Day, which takes place on Friday, 23rd September.

*Schwendicke F, Frencken JE, Bjørndal L, Maltz M, Manton DJ, Ricketts D, Van Landuyt K, Banerjee A, Campus G, Doméjean S, Fontana M, Leal S, Lo E, Machiulskiene V, Schulte A, Splieth C, Zandona AF, Innes NP. Managing Carious Lesions: Consensus Recommendations on Carious Tissue Removal. Adv Dent Res. 2016 May;28(2):58-67. doi: 10.1177/0022034516639271.


Restorative and Preventive Dentistry

Oral Health Day


PD Dr. Falk Schwendicke
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Tel: +49 30 450 662 556

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