Melbourne Dental School - Research Publications

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    A dental workforce strategy to make Australian public dental services more efficient
    Tan, MN ; Tonmukayakul, U ; Calache, H (BMC, 2019-05-30)
    BACKGROUND: Dental services can be provided by the oral health therapy (OHT) workforce and dentists. This study aims to quantify the potential cost-savings of increased utilisation of the OHT workforce in providing dental services for children under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS). The CDBS is an Australian federal government initiative to increase dental care access for children aged 2-17 years. METHODS: Dental services billed under the CDBS for the 2013-2014 financial year were used. Two OHT-to-dentist workforce mix ratios were tested: Model A National Workforce (1:4) and Model B Victorian Workforce (2:3). The 30% average salary difference between the two professions in the public sector was used to adjust the CDBS fee schedule for each type of service. The current 29% utilisation rate of the CDBS and the government target of 80% were modelled. RESULTS: The estimated cost-savings under the current CDBS utilisation rate was AUD 26.5M and AUD 61.7M, for Models A and B, respectively. For the government target CDBS utilisation rate, AUD 73.2M for Model A and AUD 170.2M for Model B could be saved. CONCLUSION: An increased utilisation of the OHT workforce to provide dental services under the CDBS would save costs on public dental service funding. The potential cost-savings can be reinvested in other dental initiatives such as outreach school-based dental check programmes or resource allocation to eliminate adult dental waiting lists in the public sector.
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    A cross sectional and longitudinal study of endodontic and periapical status in an Australian population
    Timmerman, A ; Calache, H ; Parashos, P (WILEY, 2017-09-01)
    BACKGROUND: This study describes the cross sectional and longitudinal data of endodontic and periapical status of new patients presenting to a major dental hospital, and assesses the relationships between tooth-related variables with apical periodontitis. METHODS: The records of 695 patients were randomly selected and the orthopantomograms of these patients up to 31 October 2014 were reviewed by two endodontists. The periapical status of teeth was recorded using the periapical index. The presence and quality of root fillings and coronal restorations were recorded. Statistical analysis included Fleiss' kappa, Cohen's kappa and logistic regression set at P < 0.05. RESULTS: Of 695 patient records and 16 936 teeth examined, 138 (19.9%) patients or 284 (1.7%) teeth had root fillings and 179 (25.8%) patients or 325 (1.9%) teeth had apical periodontitis. Root fillings and coronal restorations were adequate in 34.6% and 69.4% teeth, respectively. A large proportion (47%) of teeth with apical periodontitis remained unchanged in subsequent orthopantomograms. CONCLUSIONS: There was lower prevalence of root filled teeth or apical periodontitis in the present study compared with international studies. The frequency of adequate root fillings must be considered unacceptably low. Teeth with apical periodontitis may remain quiescent in the absence of caries or restorative breakdown.
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    Referral patterns of special needs patients at the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Rohani, MM ; Calache, H ; Borromeo, GL (WILEY, 2017-06-01)
    BACKGROUND: Special Needs Dentistry (SND) has been recognized as a dental specialty in Australia since 2003 but there have been no studies addressing the profile of patients for specialist care. The purpose of this study is to identify, via referrals received, the profile of patients and quality of referrals at the largest public SND unit in Victoria, Australia. METHODS: All referrals received over a 6-month period (1 January-30 June 2013) by the integrated SND unit (ISNU) were reviewed prior to allocation to the outpatient clinic (OP), domiciliary (DOM) or general anaesthetic (GA) services. RESULTS: Six-hundred and eighty-eight referrals were received with the majority for the OP clinic (68.3%), followed by DOM (22.4%) and GA services (9.3%) (χ2  = 360.2, P < 0.001). A referral may have specified more than one special needs condition with the most common category being those who were medically compromised (81.7%). The reasons for referral included lack of compliance (27.2%), further management due to multiple medical conditions or GA services required (9.9%), or for multiple other reasons (62.9%). CONCLUSIONS: A diverse pattern of SND patients was referred to the ISNU with a majority of referrals having no specific referral reason cited, suggesting poor quality of referrals.
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    Choosing foods for infants: a qualitative study of the factors that influence mothers
    Boak, R ; Virgo-Milton, M ; Hoare, A ; de Silva, A ; Gibbs, L ; Gold, L ; Gussy, M ; Calache, H ; Smith, M ; Waters, E (WILEY, 2016-05-01)
    BACKGROUND: Examining the experiences of parents making food choices for infants is important because ultimately this influences what infants eat. Infancy is a critical period when food preferences and eating behaviour begin to develop, shaping dietary patterns, growth and health outcomes. There is limited evidence regarding what or why foods are chosen for infants. OBJECTIVE: To describe the experiences of mothers making food choices for their infant children. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews with 32 Australian mothers of infants aged four to 15 months from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds. An inductive thematic analysis through a process of constant comparison was conducted on transcribed interviews. RESULTS: Mothers described many ideas and circumstances which influenced food choices they made for infants. Themes were developed which encapsulate how the wider environment and individual circumstances combine to result in the food choices made for infants. Beliefs, values, norms and knowledge were a central influence on choices. Cost, quality and availabilities of various foods were also key factors. Related to this, and combined with inherent factors such as perishability and infant acceptability, fresh fruits and vegetables were often singled out as an easy or difficult choice. Influences of time, parents' capacities, social connections and different information sources were clearly apparent. Finally infants' own preferences and how parents helped infants with learning to eat were also key influences on food choices. CONCLUSIONS: Choosing foods for infants is a complex social practice. An ecological framework depicting the multiple influences on what people eat and sociological theory on food choice regarding the role of 'social structure' and 'human agency' are both applicable to the process of choosing foods for infants. Equity issues may be key regarding the degree to which mothers can choose particular foods for infants (e.g. choosing foods which promote health).
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    An exploration of the views of Australian mothers on promoting child oral health
    Virgo-Milton, M ; Boak, R ; Hoare, A ; Gold, L ; Waters, E ; Gussy, M ; Calache, H ; O'Callaghan, E ; de Silva, AM (WILEY, 2016-03-01)
    BACKGROUND: An important role for parents and caregivers in the prevention of dental caries in children is the early establishment of health promoting behaviours. This study aimed to examine mothers' views on barriers and facilitators to promoting child and family oral health. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with a purposive sample of mothers (n = 32) of young children. Inductive thematic analysis was conducted. RESULTS: Parental knowledge and beliefs, past experiences and child behaviour emerged as major influences on children's oral health. Child temperament and parental time pressures were identified as barriers to good oral health with various strategies reported for dealing with uncooperative children at toothbrushing time. Parental oral health knowledge and beliefs emerged as positive influences on child oral health; however, while most mothers were aware of the common causes of dental caries, very few knew of other risk factors such as bedtime feeding. Parents' own oral health experiences were also seen to positively influence child oral health, regardless of whether these were positive or negative experiences. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding parental oral health beliefs is essential to overcoming barriers and promoting enablers for good child oral health. Improving child oral health also requires consideration of child behaviour, family influences, and increasing awareness of lesser-known influencing factors.
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    "Setting the scene in early childhood" - an MID approach for life.
    Tham, J ; Calache, H ; Hallett, KB (Wiley, 2019-06)
    This article presents a discussion paper for both consideration and implementation of Minimal Intervention Dentistry (MID) principles by the general dental practitioner. It argues that if these concepts can be adopted in early childhood by both the community and the profession, "Teeth for Life" can become a reality for all. Oral Health promoting behaviours can be nurtured and supported from infancy and developed into everyday living practice for a lifetime thereby maintaining an optimal quality of life. MID techniques have become more refined and supported by scientific research in the recent times and should be considered an essential clinical guideline for the future disease management.
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    Feasibility and development of a cariogenic diet scale for epidemiological research
    Amezdroz, E ; Carpenter, L ; Johnson, S ; Flood, V ; Dashper, SG ; Calache, H ; Gussy, M ; Waters, E (WILEY, 2019-05-01)
    BACKGROUND: Diet cariogenicity plays a major role as both a protective and risk factor in the development of early childhood caries (ECC). AIM: Develop a scale measuring the cariogenicity of foods and beverages and employ it to describe the cariogenicity of young children's diets and predict dental caries outcomes. DESIGN: Scores of cariogenicity and consumption frequency were applied to food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) collected from an Australian children's cohort study with three time-points of data. One-way ANOVA, with post hoc Tukey test compared mean cariogenic scale measured at 18 months between the subsample of children with caries classification at age 5 years. RESULTS: At 6 months, children's mean cariogenic score was 10.05, increasing to 34.18 at 12 and 50.00 at 18 months. Mean cariogenic scale score at 18 months was significantly higher in children with advanced disease at 5 years (mean scale score: 59.0 ± 15.9) compared to those that were healthy (mean score 47.7 ± 17.5, P = 0.007) or had mild-moderate disease (mean score 48.2 ± 17.3, P = 0.008). CONCLUSIONS: The cariogenic diet scale provides a useful indication of the increasing cariogenicity of children's diets with age and highlights the incorporation of discretionary choice foods and beverages into the diets of young children much earlier than nutritionally recommended.
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    Carious lesion severity and demarcated hypomineralized lesions of tooth enamel in schoolchildren from Melbourne, Australia
    Gambetta-Tessini, K ; Marino, R ; Ghanim, A ; Calache, H ; Manton, DJ (WILEY, 2018-09-01)
    BACKGROUND: Developmental hypomineralized lesions of enamel (DHL) may represent a significant caries-risk factor. The aim of this study was to determine the association between carious lesion severity and DHL in 6- to 12-year-old schoolchildren from Melbourne, Australia. METHODS: The sample was derived from randomly selected schools in inner Melbourne. A full dental examination was performed at the school. Socio-demographic data, caries experience (DMFT/dmft/ICDAS II) and the consequences of untreated carious lesions (PUFA/pufa) were measured. DHL, molar incisor hypomineralization (MIH) and hypomineralized second primary molar (HSPM) presence were assessed using the European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry (EAPD) criteria. RESULTS: Of the children examined (n = 327), 26.9% had DHL. The prevalence of MIH and HSPM was 14.7% and 8%, respectively. Almost 20% of children had severe carious lesions (ICDAS 5 & 6) in at least one permanent or primary tooth. Ordinal regression analyses indicated that DHL (OR = 2.17; 95% CI: 1.35-3.49) and being born overseas (OR = 2.59, 95% CI: 1.66-4.06) increased the likelihood of severe carious lesions. CONCLUSIONS: One of four children had DHL. DHL-affected children had an increased likelihood of presenting untreated severe carious lesions compared with DHL-free children.
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    A qualitative study of the factors that influence mothers when choosing drinks for their young children.
    Hoare, A ; Virgo-Milton, M ; Boak, R ; Gold, L ; Waters, E ; Gussy, M ; Calache, H ; Smith, M ; de Silva, AM (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2014-07-05)
    BACKGROUND: The consumption of sweetened beverages is a known common risk factor for the development of obesity and dental caries in children and children consume sweet drinks frequently and in large volumes from an early age. The aim of this study was to examine factors that influence mothers when choosing drinks for their children. METHOD: Semi-structured interviews (n = 32) were conducted with a purposive sample of mothers of young children from Victoria's Barwon South Western Region (selected from a larger cohort study to include families consuming different types of water, and different socioeconomic status and size). Inductive thematic analysis was conducted on transcribed interviews. RESULTS: Several themes emerged as influencing child drink choice. Child age: Water was the main beverage for the youngest child however it was seen as more acceptable to give older children sweetened beverages. Child preference and temperament: influencing when and if sweet drinks were given; Family influences such as grandparents increased children's consumption of sweet drinks, often providing children drinks such as fruit juice and soft drinks regardless of maternal disapproval. The Setting: children were more likely to be offered sweetened drinks either as a reward or treat for good behaviour or when out shopping, out for dinner or at parties. CONCLUSIONS: Limiting intake of sweet drinks is considered an important step for child general and oral health. However, the choice of drinks for children has influences from social, environmental and behavioural domains, indicating that a multi-strategy approach is required to bring about this change.
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    Natural history of dental caries in very young Australian children
    Gussy, M ; Ashbolt, R ; Carpenter, L ; Virgo-Milton, M ; Calache, H ; Dashper, S ; Leong, P ; de Silva, A ; de Livera, A ; Simpson, J ; Waters, E (WILEY, 2016-05-01)
    BACKGROUND: Whilst the global burden of caries is increasing, the trajectory of decay in young children and the point at which prevention should occur has not been well established. AIM: To identify the 'natural history' of dental caries in early childhood. DESIGN: A birth cohort study was established with 467 mother/child dyads followed at 1, 6, 12, 18, and 36 months of age. Parent-completed surveys captured demographic, social, and behavioural data, and oral examinations provided clinical and data. RESULTS: Eight per cent of children (95% confidence interval (CI): 5-12%) at 18 months and 23% (95% CI: 18-28%) at 36 months experienced decay. Interesting lesion behaviour was found between 18 and 36 months, with rapid development of new lesions on sound teeth (70% of teeth, 95% CI: 63-76%) and regression of many lesions from non-cavitated lesions to sound (23% of teeth, 95% CI: 17-30%). Significant associations were found between soft drink consumption and lesion progression. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest optimal time periods for screening and prevention of a disease which significantly impacts multiple health and well-being outcomes across the life course.