Prevalence and nature of orofacial and dental problems in family medicine

Arch Fam Med. Nov-Dec 2000;9(10):1009-12. doi: 10.1001/archfami.9.10.1009.


Objective: To determine the prevalence and nature of orofacial and dental problems in 2 family medicine practices.

Design: Prospective, cross-sectional analysis of consecutive patient visits.

Setting: Urban and rural family medicine practices.

Patients and participants: Four hundred seventy-two patients between age 10 and 86 years.

Interventions: None.

Main outcome measures: Prevalence and nature of patient visits to family medicine practices that were either initiated by problems in the region of the oral cavity or that involved questions raised by the patient concerning oral or perioral sites.

Results: Twenty-one patients (4.5%) of 472 met the inclusion criteria, 16 (76%) of whom had an oral problem as the primary or secondary reason for their visit. Perioral pain and mucosal ulcerations were the most common problems, and gingival tissue was the most common location. Almost two thirds of these patients had bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Regarding treatment, 13 (62%) of these patients received advice, 10 (48%) received prescriptions, and 3 (15%) were referred to a dentist or another medical specialist.

Conclusions: Oral and perioral problems are common in the practice of family medicine, which suggests the desirability for specific oral medicine topics in the training and continuing education of primary care physicians. Arch Fam Med. 2000;9:1009-1012

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Mouth Diseases* / therapy
  • North Carolina
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rural Health
  • Tooth Diseases*
  • Urban Health