Microscope observations of ART excavated cavities and restorations

Grossman, E. S.
Mickenautsch, S.
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This in vitro light and scanning electron microscope study examined 39 extracted tooth specimens, hand excavated and restored according to atraumatic restorative treatment (ART), using 'press finger', by 'skilled' and 'novice' operators. Surface features of five excavated cavities, 12 restoration surfaces and the tooth restoration relationships of 22 bisected restored tooth crowns were examined to better understand the clinical effect of the technique. Hand-excavated cavity surfaces were rough with a complex surface arrangement of grooves, crevices, ridges, furrows and overhangs. Enamel and dentine were covered with debris except where surface fractures exposed enamel prisms and occluded dentinal tubules. Ten of the 22 bisected restored specimens had large voids (1-3 mm in length) within the glass-ionomer cement (GIC) restoration or at the tooth-restoration interface. Smaller bubbles (< 50 microns) and irregular shaped inclusions were common in all restorations. Adaptation of the GIC to the cavity margin was extremely variable and easily distinguished from the effects of dehydration shrinkage. It is thought that cavity surface irregularities could cause placement problems making it difficult to adapt the GIC to cavity peripheries. While 'press finger' enabled excellent penetration of GIC into fissures, the technique left restoration surfaces rough. At low magnification, surfaces were irregular; at magnifications higher than X500 scratches, pits, porosities, chipping and voids were evident. However, the 'press finger' technique was able to merge the GIC to a fine edge on the occlusal surface so that the restoration margin was not obvious. No apparent difference was found between the restorations placed by the 'skilled' and 'novice' operators. Tooth-restoration relationships in the ART approach are entirely different to those of traditional restorative techniques. The ART approach requires skill, diligence and comprehension to be undertaken correctly.
Microscopy, Electron, Scanning , Dental Restoration, Permanent , Dental Caries , Dentin
Grossman,E.S., Mickenautsch,S. 2002. Microscope observations of ART excavated cavities and restorations. Journal of the South African Dental Association;57(9):359-363