The purpose of the present study was to explore intervals between regular dental examination and the time dentists spent for examination and preventive dental care of children in 1996 and 2014.
In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, random samples of dentists working with children were included, while in Iceland all dentists were mailed questionnaires. Complete information was provided by 1082 of 1834 dentists (64%) in 1996 and 1366 of 2334 dentists (59%) in 2014. Results were assessed using chi-square and analysis of variance with post-hoc tests.
Some trends were consistent in all countries, but considerable differences in routines between the countries persisted during the period. The most used and maximum planned recall intervals were on average 14.8 (sd 4.8) and 18.5 (sd 4.6) months in 2014, respectively 3.1 and 3.5 months longer than in 1996 (p?0.05). In 2014 dentists used ample time delivering preventive care to children. Dentists reported spending significantly more time providing preventive care for caries risk children than for other children both in 1996 and 2014. Concurrent with extended intervals, dentists reported spending longer performing routine examinations in three of the four countries in 2014 than in 1996.
This study of trends in dental care delivered by dentists during recent decades showed moves towards extended recall intervals and preventive care individualized according to caries risk. In addition, extending intervals could necessitate more time for a routine dental examination.