AIM: To investigate the preventive orientation of general dental practices by examining their patient-active prevention activities, practice policies for prevention and employment strategies. METHOD: All general dental practices located within the region of the Eastern Health and Social Services Board (EHSSB) in Northern Ireland were contacted and invited to participate. A questionnaire assessed practice characteristics, patient-active prevention, practice policies and employment strategies. The principal general dental practitioner (GDP) was invited to complete the questionnaire. RESULTS: Seventy-seven per cent of practices participated. Nearly all the practices provided patient-active prevention; however, lower proportions of dentists provided advice on diet for dental caries (3%), oral hygiene instruction, fluoride toothpaste use and interdental cleaning (7%) with each new course of dental treatment. 'Patient-active' prevention practices were 5.8 times more likely to employ a hygienist and 5.3 times more likely to have a practice policy to screen for oral cancer. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that the employment of a hygienist is central to the reorientation of primary dental care. The Government must be encouraged to provide the financial means to allow primary care to shift from being disease-centred to health-focused.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Primary dental care : journal of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners (UK)|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Apr 2005|
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