Introduction: Caries is the most common chronic disease of childhood, and severe forms may necessitate rehabilitative dental surgery. In this study, administrative data related to pediatric dental surgery performed under general anesthesia to treat severe early childhood caries in Manitoba, Canada, were reviewed to determine trends in pediatric dental surgery, as well as geographic, regional and socio-economic variations in surgical rates.
Methods: The total number of dental surgery cases performed under general anesthesia was obtained from provincial administrative databases for fiscal years from 1997-98 to 2006-07. Codes from the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (9th or 10th revision, as appropriate) were used to identify children who underwent extractions under general anesthesia for a slightly earlier fiscal year period (1996-97 to 2005-06). Each 10-year period was divided into two 5-year periods for comparisons over time. Analyses included descriptive and bivariate statistics, with the data being disaggregated by regional health authority (RHA) or by community area (for Winnipeg). Comparisons for which p ≤ 0.05 were defined as statistically significant.
Results: A total of 18,544 children had dental surgery under general anesthesia between 1997-98 and 2006-07 (mean age ± standard deviation 3.28 ± 1.02 years). Many of the children requiring surgery resided in one northern RHA (26.8%) or the Winnipeg RHA (23.8%). More than half of the RHAs (7/11) displayed significant increases in the rate of surgery, with northern RHAs having the highest rates. Within Winnipeg, 3 of the 12 community areas had significant increases in the rate of surgery. Two inner-city neighborhoods accounted for nearly 50% of surgical cases. The rate of extractions under general anesthesia increased significantly in 6 of the 11 RHAs, with northern RHAs having the highest rates. Four Winnipeg communities experienced significant increases in the extraction rate over time.
Conclusion: Pediatric dental surgery under general anesthesia for treatment of severe early childhood caries is common in Manitoba, and the demand increased in several communities over the study period. These results are being shared with decision-makers and communities to identify regions where oral health promotion is needed.