To assess the prevalence of proximal enamel lesions, the need for non-operative caries treatment and the quality of dental restorations in 869 students aged 16 years from Northern Norway.
All first year upper secondary school students in Tromsø and Balsfjord municipalities were invited to participate in an oral- and general health project (Fit Futures). The attendance rate was 90%, and all subjects born in 1994 (449 males and 420 females) were included in the present study. Dental caries was registered according to a 5-graded scale (1-2?=?enamel lesions; 3-5?=?dentinal lesions). Scores from 1 to 4 were used to register the quality of restorations (1?=?good; 2?=?acceptable; 3?=?poor; 4?=?unacceptable).
Only 6% of the 16-year-olds were completely caries-free. There were 84% of the participants with proximal enamel lesions. A majority of them had either previously restored teeth (35%) or both restored teeth and untreated dentinal caries lesions (34%). When using the D-value of the DMFS-index as a diagnostic criterion, 39% of the participants were in need of restorative treatment. When proximal enamel lesions were included in the diagnosis, the number of participants in need of restorative and/or non-operative caries treatment was 85%. Over 1/3 of the participants presented with at least one restoration below an acceptable quality level.
Dental caries is still a major health problem affecting the total teenage population. A non-operative treatment strategy should be considered relevant in order to reduce the need for restorative treatment.