Atraumatic Restorative Treatment – ART

ART has become one of the most effective treatment, especially for children, in the management of tooth decay. It emphasizes prevention and minimal invasiveness in dental treatment.

There have been various initiatives that have used ART in India to address the high prevalence of dental caries particularly amongst school children.

Is ART taught in all dental school and is its use promoted by paediatric dentists?

Let’s discuss:

Professor Raman Bedi

The following brief note has been agreed by a global expert group and is taken from the website Alliance for Cavity Free Future.

Atraumatic Restorative Treatment


Atraumatic restorative treatment (ART) is an alternative treatment for dental caries. The demineralised and insensitive outer carious dentin is removed with hand instruments only, requiring no electricity or anaesthesia.


After removing the carious tooth substance with hand instruments, the cavity is filled with conventional self-hardening glass ionomer cement. Pain and anxiety are significantly lower in both children and adults who receive ART therapy compared to conventional therapy.


In a meta-analysis of 5 ART effectiveness studies, 4 of the 5 studies found no statistical difference in survival between glass ionomer cements applied with ART and traditional amalgam restorations in children. Similar results have been reported in older adults (mean age 78.6 years).

Community Programs

ART was developed primarily for use in community and school-based programs. Because electricity is not needed, and the equipment is portable and easily set up, the ART methodology is particularly appropriate for use in schools, nursing homes and personal residences.

Cost Effectiveness

ART costs less than conventional amalgam restorations. Program costs are 50% less than amalgam and composite resin restorative procedures in a traditional clinical setting. Cost savings increase substantially if allied dental care providers perform the ART treatment.


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