Slow-release fluoride devices for the control of dental decay

Dental Health Services Research Unit, The Mackenzie Building, Kirsty Semple Way, Dundee, Tayside, UK.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 02/2006; DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005101.pub2
Source: PubMed


Slow-release fluoride devices have been investigated as a potentially cost-effective method of reducing dental caries in those with high risk of disease.
To evaluate the effectiveness of different types of slow-release fluoride devices on preventing, arresting, or reversing the progression of carious lesions on all surface types of deciduous and permanent teeth.
We searched (up until February 2005) multiple electronic databases (Cochrane Oral Health Group's Trials Register, CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE), bibliographic references of identified randomised controlled trials (RCTs), textbooks, review articles, and meta-analyses. Letters were sent to authors of identified RCTs asking for clarifications and unpublished or ongoing research. Relevant journals were handsearched for more recent reports than those obtained from databases.
Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing slow-release fluoride devices with an alternative fluoride treatment, placebo, or no intervention in all age groups. The main outcomes measures sought were changes in numbers of decayed, missing, and filled teeth or surfaces (DMFT/DMFS in permanent teeth or dmft/dmfs in primary teeth) and progression of carious lesions through enamel and into dentine.
Abstracts of all reports identified were considered independently by two review authors and full reports obtained of any potentially relevant articles to allow further assessment for relevance and validity. Data extraction and quality assessment were conducted independently by two and three review authors respectively, with arbitration by the fourth. Where uncertainty existed, authors were contacted for additional information.
Only one trial involving 174 children fully met the criteria for inclusion in this review. Although 132 children were still included in the trial at the 2-year completion point, examination and statistical analysis was performed on only the 63 children who had retained the beads. Thirty-one of these were in the intervention group and 32 in the control group. Amongst these 63 children, caries increment was reported to be statistically significantly lower in the intervention group than in the placebo group (mean difference: -0.72 DMFT, 95% confidence interval -1.23 to -0.21 and -1.52 DMFS, 95% confidence interval -2.68 to -0.36)
There is some evidence of a caries-inhibiting effect of slow-release fluoride glass beads. This evidence is regarded as weak and unreliable because the results were from participants selected on the basis of bead retention rather than an intention-to-treat analysis.

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    • "Constant supply of fluoride that is not affected by the poor compliance of the patient is an advantage with this system. However, concern exists in the ability to retain these devices for a long time on the tooth surface.[23] "
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    ABSTRACT: Although the prevalence of caries has decreased dramatically over the past decades, it has become a polarised disease, with most of subjects presenting low caries levels and few individuals accounting for most of the caries affected surfaces. Thus it become evident for the need of clinical approaches directed at these high-risk patients, in order to overcome problems related to compliance and low attendance at dental care centres. Slow-release fluoride devices were developed based on the inverse relationship existing between intra-oral fluoride levels and dental caries experience. The two main types of slow-release devices - copolymer membrane type and glass bead - are addressed in the present review. A substantial number of studies have demonstrated that these devices are effective in raising intra-oral F concentrations at levels able to reduce enamel solubility, resulting in a caries-protective effect. Studies in animals and humans demonstrated that the use of these devices was able to also protect the occlusal surfaces, not normally protected by conventional fluoride regimens. However, retention rates have been shown to be the main problem related to these devices and still requires further improvements. Although the results of these studies are very promising, further randomised clinical trials are needed in order to validate the use of these devices in clinical practice. The concept of continuously providing low levels of intra-oral fluoride has great potential for caries prevention in high caries-risk groups.
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    ABSTRACT: A number of novel preventive treatment options which, as with traditional methods, can be differentiated into 3 categories of prevention (primary, secondary and tertiary), have been and are being currently investigated. Those reviewed are either commercially available or appear relatively close to that point. These include: approximal sealants; fluoride applications, including slow-release devices; measures to help remineralize demineralized tissue, including 3 different methods of delivering amorphous calcium phosphate; measures to help modify the biofilm to reduce the cariogenic challenge, including ozone therapy and probiotics; measures to increase enamel resistance to demineralization, including laser treatment of enamel, and a novel 'hybrid' technique for the treatment of primary molar caries which involves 'overlapping' of secondary and tertiary prevention--the Hall technique. Although many of these techniques show considerable promise and dentists should be aware of these developments and follow their progress, the evidence for each of these novel preventive treatment options is currently insufficient to make widespread recommendations. Changes in dental practice should be explored to see how oral health can be best supported through novel preventive systems. Further research is also required involving double-blind randomized controlled trials in order to bring further benefits of more effective caries control to patients. Implementation in practice should follow promptly as new techniques are shown to be clinically valuable for individual patients.
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