Findings of clinical and radiographic caries among several adult age groups

Isildinha M. Reis, Virginia F. Flack, Kathryn A. Atchison, Stuart C. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there are aged-based variations in the association between clinically detected and radiographically detected caries and whether the prevalence of clinically undetected radiographic caries varies across adult age groups. Study design. The data for the analysis were from a clinical study that evaluated the efficacy of guidelines for prescribing dental radiographs. A total of 460 subjects had clinical examinations and interpretations made on full-mouth radiographs. Analysis was conducted to determine the tooth-specific and subject-specific prevalences of clinically undetected caries and to establish whether the association between clinical signs and radiographic signs varied by subject age. Results. In total, approximately 5.8% of clinically sound teeth showed radiographic evidence of dentinal caries, and the prevalence increased with patient age. The prevalence of clinical signs of medium and large caries was 7.8% in 12,358 teeth in which caries was both clinically and radiographically present. However, for more than 80% of the teeth with clinically undetected caries, the lesions were evident on the interproximal radiographs. The associations between clinical and radiographic signs of dentinal caries were homogeneous across age groups. Conclusion. The findings demonstrate that adolescents and adults continue to have medium and large caries, although the location of the caries differs by age group, with higher proportions of gingival caries in older patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)760-764
Number of pages5
JournalOral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, and Endodontics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry(all)


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