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Dental fillings: Not ideal for Early Childhood Caries

LEEDS, UK: A new study casted further doubt on the appropriateness of dental fillings in primary dentition. The study suggested no evidence that conventional fillings were more effective in stopping further caries and/or pain in children than other treatment modalities.

The study analysed the results of the FiCTION (Filling Children’s Teeth: Indicated or Not) trial. This trial involved 1,144 UK-residing children between 3 and 8 years old who suffered from caries. Each participant was randomly assigned one of three treatment options for the duration of the trial (which lasted up to three years for some children). This included the standard “drill and fill” approach, which involved drilling out the decayed tissue, a minimally invasive approach of sealing the caries under a metal crown or filling and the avoidance of any fillings being placed while also emphasising a reduction in sugar intake and the necessity of taking greater care of the child’s oral health.

A total of 450 participants reported that they continued to experience further caries and pain. There were no significant differences between the outcomes for each of the three treatment groups.

“Our study shows that each way of treating decay worked to a similar level but that children who get tooth decay at a young age have a high chance of experiencing toothache and abscesses regardless of the way the dentist manages the decay,” said Prof. Nicola Innes, Chair of paediatric dentistry at the University of Dundee School of Dentistry and lead author of the study.

“What is absolutely clear from our trial is that the best way to manage tooth decay is not by drilling it out or sealing it in—it’s by preventing it in the first place,” Innes added.

The study was published in the Journal of Dental Research

December 13, 2019

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