Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Services Research & Administration

First Committee Member

Jungyoon Kim, PhD

Second Committee Member

Edward Peters, DMD, SM, ScD, FACE

Third Committee Member

Molly Cawley, DDS


Background: Dental caries are preventable. Dentists utilize many prevention strategies in the office and provide at-home education to families. However, once a child develops Early Childhood Caries (ECC), especially in more severe cases, they may need general anesthesia (GA) to complete treatment. While this is an effective way to achieve full mouth dental rehabilitation (FMDR), this burdens the healthcare systems and families and does not come without risk to the patient. Patients with high caries experience remain at high risk of caries relapse after FMDR under GA, sometimes necessitating additional FMDR under GA. While there has been a significant amount of research on dental caries and prevention strategies, there has yet to be a comprehensive preventive program for children with a high risk of developing dental caries that has been shown to work consistently.

Objectives: This literature review compiles research on preventing the relapse of dental caries to identify the causes of caries recurrence in children after FMDR under GA.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) framework and four databases: CINAHL, Dentistry & Oral Sciences Source, Embase, and PubMed.

Results: The search resulted in 430 articles, which, after applying the PRISMA framework, thirty of those articles were found to be relevant to the identifying factors that relate to high caries relapse rates after children have FMDR under GA. The articles were reviewed, and the common demographic, physical, behavioral, and socioeconomic themes were determined.

Conclusions/implications: The relapse rate of dental caries after children have FMDR under GA is high. There has been a significant amount of research regarding the high caries recurrence that children experience, with many articles having similar themes but with no overly successful prevention programs. Caries prevention programs are not one-size-fits-all and must be individualized to the patient and their family.