Diagnosis and Management Approaches for Non-cavitated Carious Dental Lesions- A Narrative Review

Mohammad S. AlShaya1, 2, *
, Heba J. Sabbagh1
, Azza A. El-Housseiny1, 3

1 Pediatric Dentistry Department, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Ministry of Health, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
3 Pediatric Dentistry Department, Faculty of Dentistry, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt

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© 2021 AlShaya et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Pediatric Dentistry Department, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; E-mail:



Dental caries is one of the most prevalent diseases. Its detection and management should start with a comprehensive treatment plan, with the goals of the elimination of cariogenic bacteria, the reduction of plaque acidogenicity, the encouragement of tooth remineralization, and the repair of damaged teeth.


The aim of this paper was to review the literature regarding the latest updates on the diagnosis and management approaches of non-cavitated carious dental lesions.


Studies regarding the diagnosis and management of non-cavitated carious dental lesions were included.


The subclinical non-cavitated carious lesion might progress to an early enamel lesion, develop into an established dentin lesion, or sometimes end up with a lesion reaching the pulp. The detection and management of caries should be patient-centered, risk-based, and evidence-supported, and should consider the dentists’ expertise and the patients’ needs and preferences. The visual-tactile and radiographic detection of non-cavitated carious lesions are greatly helped by the advances of non-invasive detection tools such as DIAGNOdent, fiber-optic transillumination, quantitative light-induced fluorescence, and DIAGNOcam.


Accordingly, non-cavitated carious lesions can be arrested by several non-invasive techniques, which are preferred over the invasive options. The clinicians can use sealants plus fluoride varnish on occlusal surfaces, fluoride varnish or resin infiltration on proximal surfaces, and resin infiltration,fluoride gel, or varnish alone on facial or lingual surfaces to manage non-cavitated carious lesions.

Keywords: Dental caries, Early diagnosis, Pit fissure sealants, Cariostatic agents, Fluorescence, Lesion.