A scoping review of guidelines on caries management for children and young people to inform UK undergraduate core curriculum development

Faith Campbell (Lead / Corresponding author), Helen Rogers, Rachel Goldsmith, Kathryn Rowles, Daniela Procida Raggio, Nicola Innes

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Current evidence in cariology teaching is not consistently reflected in paediatric dentistry in the United Kingdom (UK). Many dental schools are not consistently teaching biological approaches to caries management, with outdated or complex methods being taught outwith the purview of general dental practitioners. This scoping review aimed to map current guidelines on the management of caries in children and young people. This is part of a work package to inform the consensus and development of a UK-wide caries management curriculum for paediatric dentistry.

A search of electronic databases for peer reviewed literature was performed using Cochrane Library, MEDLINE via PubMed, TRIP Medical Database and Web of Science. Hand searching was undertaken for grey literature (citations of sources of evidence, websites of global organisations and Google Web Search™ (Google LLC, California, USA). Results from databases were screened independently, concurrently by two reviewers. Full texts were obtained, and reviewers met to discuss any disagreement for both database and hand searching.

This review identified 16 guidelines suitable for inclusion. After quality appraisal, eight were selected for synthesis and interpretation. Key themes included the shift towards selective caries removal and avoidance of complete caries removal unless in specific circumstances in anterior teeth. For “early lesions” in primary and permanent teeth with and without cavitation, several guidelines recommend biological management including site specific prevention and fissure sealants.

This review mapping current cariology guidelines for children and young people found gaps in the literature including classification of early carious lesions and management of early cavitated lesions. Areas identified for further exploration include integration of biological caries management into treatment planning, selective caries removal and whether pulpotomy is specialist-level treatment, requiring referral. These results will inform consensus recommendations in the UK, using Delphi methods.
Original languageEnglish
Article number494
JournalBMC Oral Health
Issue number1
Early online date26 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Apr 2024


  • Dental education
  • Paediatric dentistry
  • Cariology
  • Dental caries


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