Management of dental caries with atraumatic restorative treatment under field condition in primary schools in Oyo State, Nigeria
Background: Dental caries is a common disease in children, which results in tooth loss if not treated. Children in suburban Nigerian communities have a high unmet treatment need index for caries, due to limited access to dental services.
Objective: To provide atraumatic restorative treatment (ART) as a field treatment for dental caries and assess the acceptability of this approach to pupils.
Methods: This is a report of the treatment of dental caries under field conditions among 432 pupils in six primary schools around the Primary Oral Health Clinics (POHC) at Idikan and Igboora, Oyo state, Nigeria. ART restorations were placed on asymptomatic class 1 cavitated carious teeth, were evaluated at six and twelve weeks for intactness and symptoms. Acceptability was assessed by asking the pupils immediately after treatment if they experienced pain/ discomfort while receiving the treatment. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics.
Results: The mean (SD) age of the participants was 9.2(1.8) years; 222(51.4%) were males. The mean (SD) DMFT/ dmft score were 0.06(0.36) [median (Range): 0.0(6)] and 0.07(0.41) [median (Range): 0.0(4)] respectively. Forty (71.4%) decayed teeth were eligible for ART. At six weeks 27(96.4%) fillings were intact while 1(3.6%) had a defective margin, at twelve weeks 23(82.1%) fillings were retained and 1(3.6%) had dislodged. All participants reported no pain during treatment and found the approach acceptable.
Conclusion: ART fillings were intact in 27(96.4%) and 23(82.1%) at 6 and 12 weeks respectively. The provision of ART within a familiar environment is an acceptable method of caries treatment in underserved schoolchildren.
Keywords: Field treatment, dental caries, Atraumatic restorative treatment