Examining the Effectiveness of Early Dental Visits in Three Practices
thesisposted on 01.11.2017, 00:00 by Abimbola O Olutimehin
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between early dental visits and caries experience in children. The existing literature has highlighted the relationship between early dental visits and lower costs associated with future dental care. However, no study to-date has been published comparing various clinic types, the subsequent adherence to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommendation of each clinic type and the effect on children’s decayed, missing, and filled teeth (dmft). The main hypothesis of this study was that children who attended early dental visits before 18 months of age, regardless of clinic type, exhibited lower dmft scores by 4 years of age. This retrospective study was conducted through a chart audit of three clinics. Upon randomly selecting subjects who met the inclusion criteria, age at first dental visit, number of recalls, and dmft score were recorded. A total of 296 subjects met the inclusion criteria. Data analysis confirmed several findings from previously published studies. Subjects with first dental visits before 18 months of age had a significantly lower dmft than those who presented after 18 months of age t (172) = 2.923, P=.004. In addition, subjects who were compliant with recalls had a significantly lower dmft t (274) = 3.86, P<.05. Both of these results confirmed the hypotheses of this study. In conclusion, this study confirmed several findings from previous research studies regarding the significance of early dental visits and its role in reducing future caries experience. Regardless of the clinic type, private or public, it was clear that compliance with AAPD recommendations and frequent recalls resulted in a lower dmft score, and better oral health for the pediatric patient.