Patient-Active Prevention in Primary Dental Care: A Characterisation of General Practices in Northern Ireland

Ruth Freeman, Gail Kerr, Kathy Salmon, Patti Speedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-46
Number of pages5
JournalPrimary dental care : journal of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners (UK)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Patient-Active Prevention in Primary Dental Care: A Characterisation of General Practices in Northern Ireland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this