An investigation into the use of a dental hygienist in school screening

Community Dent Health. 1999 Dec;16(4):232-5.


Objective: A pilot study to measure the validity of using a hygienist to carry out school screening.

Design: Following a standard training programme a dental hygienist (DH), recruited from general practice, a newly appointed dental officer (DO) and an epidemiologist (SDO), who acted as the standard, all screened the same group of school children on two occasions.

Setting: An inner city school with known high levels of disease.

Participants: Ninety-eight 7- and 8-year-old children attending school.

Main outcome measures: For each clinician the levels of referral, the reasons for referral and the repeatability were measured.

Results: The hygienist referred 26 children (27%) for further examination while the DO and the SDO both referred 61 (62%). The DO achieved the required standards of sensitivity and specificity when results were compared with the SDO but the hygienist did not. Intra-examiner reliability in all three clinicians was good.

Conclusions: The standard training programme used to prepare dental officers to carry out school screening to an agreed standard was insufficient for this hygienist's needs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Clinical Competence
  • Dental Caries / diagnosis*
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Dental Hygienists / statistics & numerical data*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / organization & administration*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • School Dentistry*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • State Dentistry
  • Workforce