A review of the reasons and sources of referral to a hospital paediatric dental service in Ireland
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AIM: To examine the reasons for referral to the Paediatric Dental Department, Cork University Dental School and Hospital, Ireland and to study the profile of these reasons in terms of the various sources of referral. STUDY DESIGN: Clinical review. METHODS: Consecutive clinical records for children attending the service were reviewed with regard to a child’s age at initial attendance, the reason for referral and the source of referral. Reasons for referral were recorded based on a defined list of acceptance criteria and were categorised by their different sources of referral. RESULTS: Records were available for 612 children with a mean age at time of initial consultation was 9.13 (SD±3.94) years. Reason for referral; children who had difficulty co-operating for dental treatment made up the largest group (36.1%). Children who only required treatment planning comprised 25.0% of the total. Source of referral: 56.0% of consultations were from the salaried public dental service and 31.2% from private dental practitioners. Forty seven patients (7.7%) were from emergency department, while 31 (5.1 %) were from medical practitioners. From the public dental service, 51.0% of referrals were for children who had difficulty co-operating for dental treatment and 22.7% were for treatment planning only. Referrals from private dental practitioners were most commonly for treatment planning only (38.2%). The proportion of referrals from the public dental service for children who had difficulty cooperating for dental treatment was twice as high as from private dentists. The proportion of referrals for trauma and for extensive dental disease from private dental practitioners was twice as high as from the public dental service. Almost all attendances from an emergency hospital department were for dental trauma. The majority of attendances from medical doctors were for medically at risk patients. CONCLUSIONS: Children with difficulty cooperating for dental treatment made up the largest single group of children attending the service. The majority of children attending were referred from the salaried public dental service.
Key wordsChildren dental hospital referral review
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