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Community Dent Health. 1998 Dec;15(4):252-5.

Clinical judgement as a basis for choice of recall interval in child dental care?

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Department of Pedodontics and Caries Prophylaxis, University of Oslo, Norway.



Extending recall intervals can be an important strategy for making children's dental care more efficient. The purpose of this study was to describe the recall intervals that the clinicians decided were appropriate for children and adolescents when they were instructed to extend and individualise the routines based on clinical judgement. In addition, the effect on recall interval of the profession of the clinician (dentist or dental hygienist), the child's age and the need for fillings were studied.


In a four week period in 1995, all dentists and dental hygienists in one county in Norway reported recall intervals for 2,513 children aged 3 to 18 years.


The mean current interval since the previous examination was 17.1 months (SD = 4.7 months) and the mean proposed interval until the next examination was 16.4 months (SD = 4.4 months). Approximately 50% of children were evaluated by the clinicians to be suitable for recall intervals of 20 months or more and 10% were assessed as requiring a new examination within 12 months. The length of the current recall interval, the age of the child, whether or not the child received fillings, and whether the decision-maker was a dentist or a dental hygienist were statistically significantly associated with the length of the proposed recall interval.


Basing recall intervals on clinical judgement resulted in intervals longer than 12 months for the majority of the children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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