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Effectiveness of School-based Dental Screening in Increasing Dental Care Utilization: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Publisher : Indian J Dent Res

Year : 2019

Abstract : Background: School based dental screening has been a popular public health intervention. However, literature provides contrasting evidence regarding effectiveness of such programs on the utilization of dental services.Objectives: We designed this review to understand the differences in dental attendance rates of children below 15 years of age, receiving a school based dental screening versus those not receiving it.Material and Methods: The standard methodological procedures prescribed by The Cochrane Collaboration for Systematic review and meta-analysis was employed. An electronic (MEDLINE via PUBMED, Cochrane trial registry, and Google scholar) and a manual search (2016) were made to identify studies.Results: Five studies met the inclusion criteria, covering a population of 28208 school children of which 21447 were included in the meta-analysis. The review concludes that school based dental screening marginally increases the dental attendance by 16 percent as opposed to a non-screening group (RR 1.16 (95% CI 1.11, 1.21). The quality of evidence was found to be low.Conclusions: There is evidence of marginally increased dental attendance rate of 16 % following screening. As the quality of evidence was found to be low, the results of this review may be used with caution.

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