Article

Pulp treatment for extensive decay in primary teeth.

Shetland NHS Board, Montfield Dental Clinic, Burgh Road, Lerwick, Shetland, UK, ZE1 OLA.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 5.94). 02/2003; DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003220
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Dental decay in primary teeth remains a considerable health problem. Where decay extends to involve the dental pulp, pulp treatment techniques are often used to manage both symptomatic and symptom free teeth.
To assess the relative effectiveness of: various pulp treatment techniques in retaining primary molar teeth with decay involving the pulp for at least 12 months; pulp treatment techniques and extractions in avoiding long term sequelae.
We searched the Cochrane Oral Health Group's Trials Register (August 2002); the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (The Cochrane Library Issue 3, 2002); MEDLINE (January 1966 to August 2002); EMBASE (1980 to August 2002); Science Citation Index Expanded (1981 to August 2002); Social Science Citation Index (1981 to August 2002); Index to Scientific and Technical Proceedings (1982 to August 2002); System for Information on Grey Literature in Europe (August 2002). Key journals were handsearched. There was no restriction on language of publication.
Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing different pulp treatment techniques (with each other, with extraction or with no treatment) for extensive decay in primary molar teeth. Primary outcomes were extractions following pulp treatment and long term effects.
Data extraction and quality assessment were carried out independently and in duplicate. Authors were contacted for additional information where necessary.
Eighty-two studies were identified but only three were suitable for inclusion. Nine studies meeting the inclusion criteria but with inappropriate study design or analysis are also described. Included trials investigated formocresol pulpotomy, ferric sulphate pulpotomy, electrosurgical pulpotomy or zinc oxide eugenol pulpectomy in symptom free, cariously exposed teeth. Data were unavailable on long term effects. Data on extraction following pulp treatment was available in all three studies and in two studies there was no statistically significant difference between the treatments. The difference seen in the other study, where more teeth treated by ferric sulphate pulpotomy were extracted compared to zinc oxide eugenol pulpectomy, must be viewed with caution.
Based on the available RCTs, there is no reliable evidence supporting the superiority of one type of treatment for pulpally involved primary molars. No conclusions can be made as to the optimum treatment or techniques for pulpally involved primary molar teeth due to the scarcity of reliable scientific research. High quality RCTs, with appropriate unit of randomisation and analysis are needed.

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