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British Dental Journal 222, 916 (2017)
Published online: 23 June 2017 | doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.2017.533

UK dentists urged to see children by age one

Claire Stevens (pictured) urged delegates at the British Dental Conference and Exhibition in May to support the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry's (BSPD's) campaign to make 'Dental Check by One' the norm for all children in the UK.

UK dentists urged to see children by age one

Dr Stevens, a Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry and Vice-President of BSPD, said that only 19% of children under two saw a dentist in the last year. She asked her audience of around 1,000 delegates, many of them young dentists, to try and see four additional children under two in the coming year. If all the 22,000 dentists with a contract saw four more under twos, then together they could bring down the number of general anaesthetics for dental extractions.

'This is my rallying cry,' said Dr Stevens, 'asking you to join me in making the Dental Check by One a reality. Please think how you can make a difference. We need to be innovative and we all need to be working together.'

A Dental Check by One is recommended in the Commissioning Guidelines for paediatric dentistry, compiled under the Chairmanship of Stephen Fayle, but still awaiting publication, and was one of the outcomes of the BSPD stakeholders meeting a year ago when all those present committed to support the campaign.

Collaborative working is very much on BSPD's agenda, Claire told her audience, and she went on to describe the work being undertaken in Manchester where she is Chair of the Managed Clinical Network (MCN) for paediatric dentistry. Local GDPs had taken the lead, she said, in trying to create a network so that all children could get dental care.

Not all dentists wanted to treat children, she said, and she understood this, but she recommended that parents should be signposted to practices where families are welcome. Most children's dentistry is carried out in general practice, and it was important that everyone treating children carried out the same evidence-based treatments. Dr Stevens also advocated the use of Hall crowns for the treatment of decayed primary teeth. The Hall crown technique was developed by a GDP in Scotland and research has shown it to be a superior approach to managing decay compared to conventional restorations and was well tolerated by patients because local anaesthetics weren't usually needed.

Dr Stevens' presentation, which opened the conference, was very well received by delegates and attracted a lot of questions on a wide range of issues relating to children's oral health.


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