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Worrying rise in child dental work

14th April 2009

Research published in the British Dental Journal shows almost 30,000 children annually need to go to hospital to have dental work carried out.


Hospital information showed that the numbers of young people aged under 17 who needed to stay in hospital for dental treatment has been increasing since 1997.

Researchers from Plymouth's Peninsula Dental School found there were 517,885 individual courses of dental treatment performed in health service hospitals for children under 17 during 1997-2006.

470,113 young people required dental work and 80% of admissions were for tooth extractions.

The research showed that children from poorer areas had double the likelihood of requiring treatment than those from better-off areas.

Professor David Moles, the study's head, said the increase in numbers had arisen although the numbers for infection and decay had stayed "steady".

The second author of the research was Dr Paul Ashley, head of paediatric dentistry at University College London's Eastman Dental Institute.

He said: "Two aspects of the study are particularly worrying - the rise in the number of general anaesthetics being given to children, and the widening gulf in dental health between social classes."

A Department of Health spokesman said the research had been affected by safety measures introduced in 2001 which meant anaesthesia had to be performed in hospitals, rather than at a dental surgery.

"There has been no increase in tooth decay in the period covered, which pre-dates the new dental contract," the spokesman stated. 

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Article Information

Title: Worrying rise in child dental work
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 10953
Date Added: 14th Apr 2009


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