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The use of computer-assisted FACE for minimal-invasive caries excavation

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Caries excavation is still a demanding procedure today. In the past years, methods using light-induced fluorescence have proven their ability to detect bacteria remaining in the tooth’s hard tissues. However, methods to control the complete removal of infected dentine have not yet been validated. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the degree of dentine removal during caries excavation using a camera- and software-based device as a guide for fluorescence-aided caries excavation (FACE) in comparison to visual-tactile inspection and a dye-staining method.

Materials and methods

One hundred teeth with carious lesions (C3) were randomly allocated to four groups and excavated with the respective method as primary excavation control method. When the first method indicated complete caries excavation, a second method was used to affirm this. Subsequently, dentine samples were taken to determine residual contamination using PCR. After embedding and sectioning the teeth dentine, microhardness was measured perpendicular to the cavity floor.


By using the camera- and software-based device, 94 % of the cavities tested were free of bacterial contamination. All cavities excavated with the dye-staining or visual-tactile control method were free of bacterial contamination but resulted in a significantly higher dentine removal.


The camera- and software-assisted caries excavation seems to be an adequate method to remove contaminated dentine without removing affected dentine.

Clinical relevance

Beside its original application to monitor carious, the device is safe, effective, and easy to use for guided caries excavation and is of worth for both everyday practice and undergraduate education.

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Conflict of interests

The present work has been financially supported by DÜRR DENTAL AG, Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany

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Correspondence to Markus Jörg Altenburger.

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Ganter, P., Al-Ahmad, A., Wrbas, K. et al. The use of computer-assisted FACE for minimal-invasive caries excavation. Clin Oral Invest 18, 745–751 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00784-013-1022-3

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  • Caries excavation
  • FACE
  • Dye staining
  • PCR
  • Microhardness