The monitor practice programme: Is non-invasive management of dental caries in private practice effective?

B. Curtis, R. W. Evans, A. Sbaraini, E. Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: This paper reviews the efficacy of an intensive, preventive-based, non-invasive approach to the management of dental caries within a randomized controlled trial. Methods: The primary efficacy measure was the two-year DMFS increment. Changes in risk status, fluoride history, number of emergency visits and toothaches, along with demographic variables such as age, gender, health problems, and the location of the dental practice attended were measured. Regression analysis was undertaken to adjust for potential confounding variables. Results: Nine hundred and two patients were recruited within 22 dental practices between May 2005 and March 2006. Baseline DMFS did not differ significantly between the control and study groups (p = 0.83). Age (p < 0.001), health status (p = 0.005), baseline risk (p < 0.001) and fluoride history (p < 0.001) were all independent significant predictors of two-year DMFS increment. Gender approached significance (p = 0.08). There were no statistically significant differences between the groups in the incidence of toothaches (p = 0.1) or number of treatment visits required (p = 0.35). There was a significant difference in the two-year incremental DMFS score in the study group compared to the control group (mean difference 2.2; p < 0.001). After adjusting for confounding variables the difference in the DMFS increment between the control and study groups remained significant (mean difference 1.7; p < 0.001). Conclusions: The results indicate efficacy of the preventive programme. Efficacy was independent of age, gender, medical concerns, fluoride history, or previous history of dental caries, in a population of patients attending for treatment in private dental practices, in a variety of locations, on a relatively short-term basis (two years). While encouraging, it will be essential that these results are followed over a longer period of time in order to determine whether the benefits are maintained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-313
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Dental Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Dental caries
  • Economic analysis
  • Evidence-based care
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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