Carious Lesions Occur in Four General Areas of the Tooth

  • Pit and Fissure Caries (Figure 2) - includes Class I occlusal surfaces of posterior teeth, lingual pits of maxillary incisors, and buccal surfaces of mandibular molars.
  • Smooth Surface Caries & Interproximal Surface Caries (Figure 3) - includes Class V buccal, lingual surfaces of anterior and posterior teeth, and Class II interproximal surfaces of all teeth below the interproximal contact points.
  • Root Surface Caries (Figure 4) - cementum is exposed due to teeth traumatized by conditions such as malocclusion, consistent bruxing, or clenching.  Due to cementum being only 50% mineralized, root surface caries can occur if the patient receives multiple lactic-acid exposures.
  • Secondary or Recurrent Caries (Figure 5) - Includes caries seen adjacent to or beneath an existing restoration.
Figure 2. Pit and Fissure Caries.
Pit and Fissure Caries
Figure 3. Smooth Surface Caries & Interproximal Surface Caries.
Smooth Surface Caries
Figure 4. Root Surface Caries.
Root Surface Caries
Figure 5. Secondary or Recurrent Caries.
Secondary or Recurrent Caries
Image source: The Ohio State University College of Dentistry.