Purpose: To investigate the practices, knowledge and opinions of French dental students (FDSs) in various domains of minimal intervention (MI) in cariology.
Keywords: carious lesions, dental education, dental students, minimal intervention, restorative threshold
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study was conducted in spring 2018 among all fifth-year French dental students (FDSs) from the 16 French dental schools. The present article focuses on restorative management. Statistical analyses (descriptive, chi-squared) were performed.
Results: The response rate was 84.5%. Overall, 97.4% of respondents would have operatively intervened for proximal and 83% for occlusal carious lesions, respectively, while non-or micro-invasive intervention would have been possible. Interestingly, 15% would completely open the occlusal fissures. For both occlusal and proximal lesions requiring a restoration, composite resin was indicated by over 95% of the respondents. In a clinical case, 51.6% of FDSs who rightly diagnosed an enamel carious lesion would operatively intervene. When FDSs could not diagnose the type of carious lesions, a high proportion of invasive actions were also reported (40%). FDSs who read scientific articles were more likely to consider the high importance of not filling sound teeth unnecessarily (p = 0.033).
Conclusion: FDSs do not have sufficient awareness of MI guidelines regarding occlusal and proximal restorative thresholds. Efforts are required in dental schools to teach FDSs to postpone invasive/restorative strategies to later stages of carious progression. There is a need to strengthen prevention techniques and non-invasive options in the teaching of MI in cariology.