A pilot study of dentists' assessment of caries detection and staging systems applied to early caries: PEARL Network findings

Van P. Thompson, Andrew B. Schenkel, Bapanaiah Penugonda, Mark S. Wolff, Gregory G. Zeller, Hongyu Wu, Don Vena, Ashley C. Grill, Frederick A. Curro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The International Caries Detection and Assessment System (ICDAS II) and the Caries Classification System (CCS) are caries stage description systems proposed for adoption into clinical practice. This pilot study investigated clinicians' training in and use of these systems for detection of early caries and recommendations for individual tooth treatment. Patient participants (N = 8) with a range of noncavitated lesions (CCS ranks 2 and 4 and ICDAS II ranks 2-4) identified by a team of calibrated examiners were recruited from the New York University College of Dentistry clinic. Eighteen dentists-8 from the Practitioners Engaged in Applied Research and Learning (PEARL) Network and 10 recruited from the Academy of General Dentistry-were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: 5 dentists used only visual- Tactile (VT) examination, 7 were trained in the ICDAS II, and 6 were trained in the CCS. Lesion stage for each tooth was determined by the ICDAS II and CCS groups, and recommended treatment was decided by all groups. Teeth were assessed both with and without radiographs. Caries was detected in 92.7% (95% CI, 88%-96%) of the teeth by dentists with CCS training, 88.8% (95% CI, 84%-92%) of the teeth by those with ICDAS II training, and 62.3% (95% CI, 55%-69%) of teeth by the VT group. Web-based training was acceptable to all dentists in the CCS group (6 of 6) but fewer of the dentists in the ICDAS II group (5 of 7). The modified CCS translated clinically to more accurate caries detection, particularly compared to detection by untrained dentists (VT group). Moreover, the CCS was more accepted than was the ICDAS II, but dentists in both groups were open to the application of these systems. Agreement on caries staging requires additional training prior to a larger validation study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-27
Number of pages8
JournalGeneral dentistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • CCS
  • Caries
  • Diagnosis
  • PEARL network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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