December 2006

Volume 23, Issue 4

A survey of school dental screening practise in community dental services of England and Wales in 2003

Authors: M. Tickle A.S. Blinkhorn P. Kearney-Mitchell M. Catleugh K.M. Milsom A.G. Threlfall
doi:

Abstract

Objective: To describe the school dental screening process in Community Dental Services across England and Wales. Basic research design: Cross-sectional study using a postal questionnaire. Clinical setting: Community Dental Services. Participants: Clinical Directors of Community Dental Services in England and Wales. Main outcome measures: Respondents answers about the objectives of school dental screening, criteria used for referring a child, methods of informing parents of screening results, and methods used to confirm subsequent dental attendance. Results: The response rate for this study was 92.1%. Respondents identified dental registration (75.2%) and attendance at a dentist (82.9%) as objectives of school dental screening. Less than one third (29.5%) saw the activity as having a preventive role. Caries in the primary and secondary dentitions and soft tissue lesions were reported as key criteria for referral. Methods of follow-up of screened positive children differed and were often inadequate; approximately one third of respondents used a letter carried home by the child that did not allow parents to inform the CDS of action taken. Half of the respondents routinely collected data on the number of screened positive children who subsequently visit a dentist. Conclusions: School dental screening is delivered in a similar fashion throughout England and Wales but methods of informing parents of a positive screen and follow–up mechanisms for children with positive screens vary. Most school dental screening programmes do not collect sufficient data to evaluate the impact of their programmes on children’s oral health. Key words: Dental, school, screening

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