Caries Burden And Suitability For Atraumatic Restorative Treatment Among School Children In Indonesia

Irene Adyatmaka, Jilen Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Dental caries remains among the most prevalent chronic conditions in childhood and remains highly prevalent among schoolchildren in Indonesia. Globally, atraumatic restorative treatment (ART) has been used to good effect in the management of carious lesions among high-risk cohorts, particularly in challenging environments. However, in settings, where labor, time, facilities, and materials are particularly limited, strategic triaging of teeth suitable for ART restorations may be valuable to better direct public health expenditure. Therefore, this study aims to (i) describe the prevalence of dental caries among Indonesian schoolchildren and (ii) evaluate the proportion of lesions indicated for ART.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional cohort study of elementary schoolchildren from West Java, Indonesia, was examined and categorized according to Hellman’s dental development stages (Groups 1–4 corresponding to the early mixed dentition through to complete permanent dentition). Descriptive statistics and proportional analysis were conducted with the following variables being evaluated: Teeth with early caries (EC), late/advanced caries (LC), recurrent caries (RC), and total caries experience (TC = EC+ART+LC+RC). In evaluating the suitability for ART, additional variables of ART indicated carious lesions (ART) and lower molars with lesions indicated for ART (LM) were assessed.

RESULTS: A total of 437 children ranging from 8 to 14 years of age were examined. Out of 8882 teeth examined, 996 had active carious lesions and only 57 had received satisfactory restorative treatment. Children in Hellman’s Group 1 stage of development had the highest prevalence of EC (62%) and ART indicated caries (32%). Meanwhile, older children in Group 4 experienced the highest portion of advanced caries (15%). The proportion of lower molars indicated for ART was 87%, 76%, 70%, and 67% in Groups 1–4, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Indonesian schoolchildren face a high burden of untreated dental caries from a young age. The younger the developmental stage, the higher the prevalence of early and ART-indicated lesions with the majority being found in lower permanent molars. Although ART and preventive strategies show the highest potential in the early mixed dentition, they alone cannot completely meet the dental needs of populations such as this where the severity and disease burden are extremely high.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-81
JournalJournal of Global Oral Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


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