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Approximal morphology as predictor of approximal caries in primary molar teeth

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A. Cortes, S. Martignon, V. Qvist, Kim Rud Ekstrand

Original languageEnglish
Early online date22 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

King's Authors


To evaluate the predictive power of the morphology of the distal surface on 1st and mesial surface on 2nd primary molar teeth on caries development in young children.
Out of 101 3-to 4-year-old children from an on-going study, 62 children, for whom parents' informed consent was given, participated. Upper and lower molar teeth of one randomly selected side received a 2-day temporarily separation. Bitewing radiographs and silicone impressions of interproximal area (IPA) were obtained. One-year procedures were repeated in 52 children (84%). The morphology of the distal surfaces of the first molar teeth and the mesial surfaces on the second molar teeth (n=208) was scored from the occlusal aspect on images from the baseline resin models resulting in four IPA variants: concave-concave; concave-convex; convex-concave, and convex-convex. Approximal caries on the surface in question was radiographically assessed as absent/present.
Of the 52 children examined at follow-up, 31 children (60%) had 1-4 concave surfaces. In total 53 (25%) of the 208 surfaces were concave. A total of 22 children (43%) had 1-4 approximal lesions adding up to 59 lesions. Multiple logistic regression analyses disclosed that gender, surface morphology on one of the approximal surfaces (focus-surface), and adjacent-surface morphology were significantly related to caries development (p values ≤ 0.03). The odds ratio for developing caries in the focus-surface/adjacent-surface in the four IPA variants were convex-convex, 1.0; convex-concave, 5.5 (CI 2.0-14.7); concave-convex, 12.9 (CI 4.1-40.3); and concave-concave, 15.7 (CI 5.1-48.3).
Morphology of approximal surfaces in primary molar teeth, in particular both surfaces being concave, significantly influences the risk of developing caries.
The concave morphology of approximal surfaces can predict future caries lesions supporting specific home-care and in-office preventive strategies.

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