Prevalence and severity of clinical consequences of untreated dentine carious lesions in children from a deprived area of Brazil
SourceCaries Research, 45, 5, (2011), pp. 435-442
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
SubjectNCEBP 7: Effective primary care and public health
Disadvantaged children suffer because tooth cavities are not being treated and their clinical consequences not being surveyed. The present study aimed to assess the prevalence and severity of clinical consequences of untreated dentine carious lesions in schoolchildren from a deprived area of Brazil and to investigate the determinants of the pufa index. A sample of 835 children aged 6-7 years, from six public schools, was examined by 3 calibrated examiners. Clinical consequences of untreated dentine carious lesions in primary teeth were diagnosed using the four codes of the pufa index: 'p' (pulpal involvement), 'u' (ulceration), 'f' (fistulae), 'a' (abscess). Effects of gender, age, school, history of extraction, and toothache on the prevalence of pufa codes were tested. The prevalence of pufa codes was 23.7%. The mean pufa score was 0.4 +/- 0.9. Code 'p' was the most prevalent (19.5%), whereas code 'u' was least prevalent (0.1%). Children with a history of extracted primary teeth due to caries had a 2.7 times higher chance to have a pufa code than children with no previous extraction. Children with toothache had a 5.6 times higher chance to have a pufa code than children without toothache. The prevalence of clinical consequences of untreated dentine carious lesions was moderate and the severity was low. The pufa index is an epidemiological tool complementary to existing caries indices aimed to assess dental caries. However, there appears to be no need to include code 'u' nor to score codes 'f' and 'a' separately.
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