Thanks to adhesive restorative materials, minimally invasive approaches are possible.
In this context, the old question arises as to whether caries must be excavated completely, i.e., down to hard dentin, or whether it could be advantageous to leave some soft dentin, or even merely seal the whole lesion.
To answer this question, the microbiological aspects of the lesion must be considered, along with the immunological response in the dental pulp, with the concurrent possible negative outcomes for the patient. Both aspects are considered in this review, and clinical studies comparing different treatment modalities are discussed.
Situations in which calcium silicate cements could be advantageous over the gold standard calcium hydroxide preparations for covering the dentin/pulp wound are also discussed.