Preventive care and recall intervals. Targeting of services in child dental care in Norway

Community Dent Health. 2010 Mar;27(1):5-11.


Skewed caries distribution has made interesting the use of a high risk strategy in child dental services.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the preventive dental care given and the recall intervals used for children and adolescents in a low caries risk population, and to study how the time spent for preventive care and the length of intervals were associated with characteristics of the children and factors related to care delivery.

Material and methods: Time spent for and type of preventive care, recall intervals, oral health and health behaviour of children and adolescents three to 18 years of age (n = 576) and the preventive services delivered were registered at routine dental examinations in the public dental services.

Results: The time used for preventive dental care was on average 22% of the total time used in a course of treatment (7.3 of 33.4 minutes). Less than 15% of the variation in time spent for prevention was explained by oral health, oral health behaviours and other characteristics of the children and the service delivery. The mean (SD) recall intervals were 15.4 (4.6) months and 55% of the children were given intervals equal to or longer than 18 months. Approximately 30% of the variation in the length of the recall intervals was explained by characteristics of the child and the service delivery.

Conclusions: The time used for preventive dental care of children in a low risk population was standardized, while the recall intervals to a certain extent were individualized according to dental health and dental health behaviour.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Care for Children / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Dental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Episode of Care
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data
  • Preventive Dentistry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors