Approaches adopted by dentists for management of occlusal caries in primary teeth

ABSTRACT Objective To evaluate the approaches used by Family Health Strategy dentists in the city of Campina Grande, Paraíba, Brazil, for management of occlusal caries in primary teeth. Methods In this observational, cross-sectional, census-based, descriptive study, 33 professionals completed a questionnaire designed to evaluate their approach to management of occlusal caries in enamel and dentin of deciduous teeth in different risk situations. Data were analyzed through descriptive and inferential statistics (Fisher's exact test with the level of significance set to 5%). Inter-examiner agreement was evaluated by Cohen's kappa statistic. Results For chronic enamel caries in primary teeth with low risk/activity, the approach of choice was preventive, with fluoride application being the most cited intervention (39.3%). For active carious dentin in primary teeth with high risk/activity and with low risk/activity, invasive approaches were most prevalent (93.9% and 78.8%, respectively), with complete caries removal (74.2%) and glass-ionomer restoration (69.2%) being the most frequent responses. Inter-examiner agreement was moderate (k = 0.44). Conclusion Although a wide range of approaches were adopted by dental practitioners, most preferred invasive interventions, even in situations where preservation of tooth structure was recommended.