Background: Clinicians handle diagnosis and treatment planning of caries in different ways, and the underlying factors leading to management of risk and choice of treatment strategies are poorly understood.
Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate dentists' and dental hygienists' choices of preventive strategies for children and adolescents identified as at high risk of developing caries.
Design: A sample of dental records from 432 of a total of 3372 children in a Swedish county identified as at high risk of developing caries, aged 3-19 years, was randomly selected for analysis in the study. Information of importance for the therapists' choice of caries management strategies were obtained from the dental records.
Results: The results showed that therapists considered tooth brushing instruction and fluoride treatment at the clinic to be of primary importance as treatment given in 60% of the cases, respectively. Fluoride treatment at home and diet counselling were both chosen in half of the cases. Fissure sealant therapy was used in 21% of the cases, and 15% of the patients did not receive any preventive treatment at all. The results also showed that girls more often received fluoride treatment, tooth brushing instruction and oral hygiene information than boys.
Conclusions: In the majority of the children and adolescents, several preventive measures were given. The more background factors included in the risk assessment, the more preventive measures were given. The differences between the treatments given to girls and the boys need to be further investigated.
© 2010 The Authors. International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry © 2010 BSPD, IAPD and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.