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Vol. 74, No. 10
ISSN: 1488-2159
December 2008


Are Manitoba Dentists Aware of the Recommendation for a First Visit to the Dentist by Age 1 Year?


• Tijana Stijacic, BSc, BSc(Dent), DMD •
• Robert J. Schroth, DMD, MSc •
• Herenia P. Lawrence, DDS, MSc, PhD •

A b s t r a c t

Background: The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommend that children visit the dentist by 12 months of age.

Purpose: To report on how Manitoba's general dental practitioners and pediatric dentists manage oral health in early childhood.

Methods: Mailed surveys that used the modified survey methods of Dillman were sent to 390 Manitoban general dental practitioners and pediatric dentists. The sampling frame was the Manitoba Dental Association's Membership Registry, but only those dentists who consented to the release of their mailing information were contacted. Survey data were analyzed with Number Cruncher Statistical Software (NCSS 2007). Descriptive statistics, bivariate analyses and multiple regression analyses were done. A p value of ≤ 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: A total of 292 (74.9%) of the 390 practitioners responded, of whom 85.1% met the eligibility criteria and 84.6% were graduates of the faculty of dentistry, University of Manitoba. Overall, infants and preschoolers constituted < 10% of patients in the respondents' practices. Slightly more than half (58.3%, 144/247) of participants were aware of professional organizations' recommendation about the timing of children's first visit to the dentist; 52.2% (130/249) were unaware of the existence of a standardized case definition for ECC; and 32.3% (80/248) knew that ECC was defined as the presence of at least 1 primary tooth affected by caries in children < 6 years of age. On average, these participating dentists from Manitoba thought children should visit the dentist by 2 years of age.

Conclusions: Although early visits to the dentist are now endorsed by CDA and AAPD, a significant number of dentists in Manitoba are still unaware of the recommendation that children should first visit the dentist by 12 months of age.


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