What primary healthcare providers need to know about oral examination in children? A qualitative study

Document Type: Original Article


1 PhD Student, Dental Research Center AND Department of Oral Public Health, School of Dentistry, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Education, Medical Education Development Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Dental Research Center AND Department of Oral Public Health, School of Dentistry, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Providing oral examination for children is one of the primary healthcare providers (PHCPs) assigned tasks. Since children’s oral and dental health needs can be recognized only through a proper oral examination, this study was conducted to illustrate what PHCPs need to know about pediatric oral screening.
METHODS: This qualitative content analysis study was conducted in Najafabad, Isfahan, Iran, in 2017. Data were gathered through in-depth semi-structured interviews with 21 PHCPs. The sampling began with a purposeful method and continued through the snowball method. Qualitative data were coded and analyzed using MAXQDA software.
RESULTS: The information that PHCPs need to know about children’s oral and dental examination was categorized in three major themes and nine subthemes: positioning and controlling the child (positioning for each age group and controlling uncooperative children), performing the oral examination (evaluating child’s oral hygiene, identifying teeth series and classes, detecting dental caries, evaluating teeth eruption, and recognizing facial traumas), and working with Integrated Health System (IHS) (answering the IHS' oral health question, using the provided information in IHS, and recording the findings).
CONCLUSION: PHCPs who participated in this study could not perform an acceptable oral screening for children and they wanted to know more about how they could carry out a correct one. By providing proper education to meet all the information needs of PHCPs and discarding irrelevant topics, the health system may facilitate the delivery of standard oral and dental health services for children.


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