Prevalence and Nature of Orofacial and Dental Problems in Family Medicine
Peter B. Lockhart, DDS;
David K. Mason, BDS, MD;
Joseph C. Konen, MD, MSPH;
M. Louise Kent, RN;
John Gibson, PhD, MBChB, BDS
Arch Fam Med. 2000;9:1009-1012.
Objective To determine the prevalence and nature of orofacial and dental problems in 2 family medicine practices.
Design Prospective, cross-sectional analysis of consecutive patient visits.
Setting Urban and rural family medicine practices.
Patients and Participants Four hundred seventy-two patients between age 10 and 86 years.
Main Outcome Measures Prevalence and nature of patient visits to family medicine practices that were either initiated by problems in the region of the oral cavity or that involved questions raised by the patient concerning oral or perioral sites.
Results Twenty-one patients (4.5%) of 472 met the inclusion criteria, 16 (76%) of whom had an oral problem as the primary or secondary reason for their visit. Perioral pain and mucosal ulcerations were the most common problems, and gingival tissue was the most common location. Almost two thirds of these patients had bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Regarding treatment, 13 (62%) of these patients received advice, 10 (48%) received prescriptions, and 3 (15%) were referred to a dentist or another medical specialist.
Conclusions Oral and perioral problems are common in the practice of family medicine, which suggests the desirability for specific oral medicine topics in the training and continuing education of primary care physicians.
From the Departments of Oral Medicine (Dr Lockhart and Ms Kent) and Family Medicine (Dr Konen), Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC; and the Department of Oral Medicine and Oral Surgery (Drs Mason and Gibson), Glasgow Dental Hospital and School, Glasgow, Scotland.
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