An assessment of capitation in the new General Dental Service contract

A. S. Blinkhorn, D. C. Hassall, P. J. Holloway, A. C. Mellor, H. V. Worthington

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    A 2-year study has been completed to examine the dental health and patterns of treatment of samples of children registered under capitation in three areas of England. The opportunity was taken to compare some of these results with those reported in the same areas in 1989 when the dentists were remunerated under fee-for-service. In addition, the validity of the dental health information supplied by general dental practitioners on the FP17C form was assessed. The dental health of 14-15-year-old patients registered for more than a year was compared with that of similar patients in the same areas in 1989. There was a large reduction in the caries experience (mean DMFT) in these patients in all areas between 1989 and 1994 mainly due to a significant fall in the mean numbers of teeth filled. The mean number of teeth extracted for caries remained low in all areas. There was a small increase in the mean number of decayed, untreated teeth in all areas. There was a large increase in the proportion of patients with one or more fissure sealants present. The dental health of 7-8-year-old patients registered for more than a year was examined but, as this age group were not examined in 1989, no comparative data were available. Regularly attending child patients had, on average, one untreated decayed deciduous tooth, but few had more than two. Caries experience in first permanent molars was low in all areas. Data were collected from a sample of general dental practitioners in the three areas on the treatment provided over a 12-month period for random samples of patients in two age groups: 6-12 and 13-15 years. There was an increase in two of the three areas in the provision of oral hygiene instruction and dietary advice. The level of fissure sealant use was maintained or increased. There was a reduction in the numbers of both deciduous and permanent teeth filled. Fewer children had teeth extracted. The proportions of patients having bitewing radiography reduced. The mean number of both visits and check-up examinations reduced. The validation of the dental health information on the FP17C was carried out by comparing the data collected for 7-8 and 14-15 year old patients during the dental health examinations with that submitted by general dental practitioners on FP17C forms to the Dental Practice Board for the same children. For the permanent dentition, agreement was good for missing and filled teeth but poor for decayed, untreated teeth. For deciduous teeth, levels of agreement were generally poor except for filled teeth where it was fair.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-20
    Number of pages17
    JournalCommunity Dental Health
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 1996


    • Adolescent
    • statistics & numerical data: Capitation Fee
    • Child
    • Counseling
    • DMF Index
    • utilization: Dental Care
    • epidemiology: Dental Caries
    • statistics & numerical data: Dental Restoration, Permanent
    • epidemiology: England
    • Food Habits
    • Humans
    • Molar
    • Oral Health
    • statistics & numerical data: Oral Hygiene
    • statistics & numerical data: Patient Education as Topic
    • therapeutic use: Pit and Fissure Sealants
    • statistics & numerical data: Radiography, Bitewing
    • Reproducibility of Results
    • statistics & numerical data: State Medicine
    • statistics & numerical data: Tooth Extraction
    • Tooth, Deciduous


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