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Keywords:

  • chemomechanical;
  • caries

Compared to the past, caries removal has become more efficient, however inherent fundamental drawbacks of the drilling approach have remained: unpleasantness to patients, need for local anesthesia, and potential adverse effects to the pulp due to heat and pressure. Chemomechanical caries removal, introduced almost three decades ago, was claimed to be a non-invasive alternative for the removal of carious dentine. In essence, the technique involved applying a solution onto the decayed dentinal tissue, allowing it to soften it, and, finally, scraping it off with blunt hand instruments. The partially degraded collagen in carious dentine was chlorinated by chemomechanical caries removal solutions. This chlorination affected the secondary and/or quaternary structure of collagen, by disrupting hydrogen bonding. Carious material removal was thus facilitated. The purpose of this paper is to perform a comprehensive review of the literature regarding chemomechanical caries removal, including the most recently available product, the initial reports on which warrant renewed interest in the approach.