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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A retrospective study of the population served by the Children’s Dental Program at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Dentistry Lee, Pauline Shih Jia

Abstract

Objective: Many dental schools contribute to public health through free or reduced-fee treatment for underserved pediatric populations. Since the 1970s, the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Dentistry’s students provide dental treatment to pediatric patients through a bussing program known as the Children’s Dental Program (CDP), which transports children from areas outside of Vancouver city limits to UBC for free care. The purpose of this study was to quantify the scope of the CDP by reviewing the populations served and the dental treatment provided using digital records of the past twenty-one years. Methods: De-identified data was retrieved from UBC’s axiUm Dental Software database, including demographic information and treatment procedures performed. The twenty-one years were divided into 4 time periods (Period 1 to Period 4). The first three digits of the patients’ postal codes (i.e. their forward sortation area) were used to create choropleth maps using QGIS Software. The treatment procedures were organized into ten categories (including diagnostic, preventive, restorative, and oral surgery), and their proportions and means were calculated. A Standardized Treatment Provision Index (STPI) was also created to facilitate more detailed comparisons. Using SPSS Software, statistical analysis was done at three levels: procedure-, patient-, and student-level. Results: A total of 5,203 patients were treated between April 1997 and March 2018. Their mean age was 7.8 years. A majority were from the Vancouver suburbs of Surrey, Abbotsford, and Burnaby. Over each successive period, the mean number of procedures per patient decreased. All levels of analyses also revealed decreases in restorative and preventive procedures from Periods 1 to 4. Conclusions: The CDP has been providing dental care to children from many disadvantaged communities located in the Vancouver suburbs, with dental students gaining valuable experience working with pediatric patients. The decrease in restorative procedures may be due to decreases in the children’s caries experience. The program should advocate for more preventive procedures such as fluoride applications and fissure sealants. Last but not least, the Standardized Treatment Provision Index (STPI) has great potential in epidemiology as a measure of treatment provision in a population and as a proxy of its treatment needs.

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