Main Article Content
Objective: To study experience of Thai dental therapists in oral health prevention for 0-5 year-old children.
Materials and method: In-depth interviews were conducted with nineteen dental therapists who were selected by purposive sampling of national award winning dental therapist from 2010 to 2016. The questions include role and experience in the job especially in oral health prevention for 0-5 year-old children and how to update new knowledge in this specific field. All data was collected as qualitative data during October 2017 to February 2018. Then content analysis and thematic analysis were performed to categorize, analyze and summarize the data.
Results: The study revealed that 19 dental therapists have vary levels of experience in oral health prevention of 0-5 year-old children including caries risk assessment, periodicity of examination or recall, oral hygiene instruction, dietary advice, professional topical fluoride application and primary teeth’s sealant. The mentioned interventions are not base on the individual caries risk level but depend on agreement of each of individual workplace and have to comply to policy indicators of ministry of public health. The most frequently practiced intervention is oral hygiene instruction, while primary teeth’s sealant is not widely practiced. In addition, there are misconception in professional topical fluoride indication, case selection and application.
Conclusions: This study indicates that in order to provide an effective oral health prevention for 0-5 year-old children, experience of dental therapist should be calibrated and priorited in the intervention selection for each patients with different levels of caries risk.