Background: Treatment patterns for caries have been shown to reflect high rates of restorative services. The objective of this study was to investigate types of restorative treatment provided to patients with a main diagnosis of coronal caries in relation to the severity of the caries lesion. Methods: A random sample of Australian dentists was surveyed by mailed questionnaires in 2009–2010 (response rate 67%). Data on types of restorative treatment, patient characteristics and main diagnosis were collected from a service log. Results: Models of service rates adjusted for age, gender, insurance status and reason for visit showed that compared to the reference category of initial caries lesions, there were lower rates [Rate Ratio, 95% CI] of adhesive anterior restorative services [0.57, 0.34–0.95] and lower rates of adhesive posterior restorations [0.56, 0.40–0.79] for gross lesions. Conclusions: Treatment of coronal caries was characterized by high rates of adhesive posterior restorative services, but gross lesions had lower rates of both anterior and posterior adhesive restorations. Types of restorative treatment for coronal caries were similar between initial and cavitated lesions. This could indicate scope for the adoption of more minimum intervention approaches to the management of initial carious lesions.
- oral health
- dental services
- minimum intervention dentistry
- private general practice
- restorative treatment