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Br Dent J. 2006 Apr 22;200(8):447-50; discussion 443.

A survey of oral and maxillofacial pathology specimens submitted by general dental practitioners over a 30-year period.

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Department of Oral Pathology, School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield, Claremont Crescent, Sheffield, S10 2TA, UK.



To determine the range and frequency of diagnoses in specimens submitted for histopathological examination by general dental practitioners (GDPs).


A retrospective analysis was carried out of all cases submitted by GDPs for the period 1974-2003, using a Foxpro Windows database. The data were collated into 10 diagnostic categories each comprising number of diagnoses, percentage of each diagnosis within a diagnostic category and each diagnosis as a percentage of total cases.


GDPs submitted 6,666 cases out of a total of 53,474 for this period. While the total number of specimens increased four-fold over the 30-year period, specimens from GDPs increased from 7% to 17%. The range of diagnoses increased from 18 to 45. Of the 617 GDPs who submitted material, 279 (45%) submitted less than two specimens each in 30 years. Nine malignant neoplasms were diagnosed. Other significant pathology included 320 benign neoplasms as well as diagnoses ranging from mucosal lesions such as lichen planus to odontogenic cysts.


It is clear that GDPs have provided an increased number of biopsy specimens over the last three decades. This reflects an increasing demand by GDPs for a diagnostic oral histopathology service and their use of this service should be encouraged.

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