Provision of prevention to adults in NHS dental practices and attitudes to prevention

P Tomlinson, E Treasure
British Dental Journal 2006 April 8, 200 (7): 393-7, discussion 387

AIMS: To identify the number of claims reported by the Dental Practice Board (DPB) for the three adult preventive codes for the year ending October 2002 in Wales. To identify the attitudes of practitioners to the use of these codes.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional study using routinely gathered DPB data and data generated by a postal questionnaire.

SAMPLE: All DPB claims for the 12 months ending October 2002. A randomised sample of 400 dentists currently practising in Wales for the postal questionnaire.

RESULTS: The DPB data showed great variation across Wales for: the number, type and distribution of preventive code claims; the age and payment status of patients prescribed these treatments; and the proportion of male versus female dentists claiming for the codes. The questionnaire response rate was 67% (n = 267). The results showed that most respondents were deterred by the restrictions on the codes, insufficient reimbursement and a perceived unwillingness of patients to pay for preventive care.

CONCLUSION: Few dentists provide preventive care to adults under the existing remuneration system. Work is necessary to enable dentists to use effective preventive techniques for adult patients. These results can be considered to show the baseline provision of prevention and could facilitate the evaluation of any changes to the current system.

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