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News Americas

Back to News Americas Early childhood caries, also known as baby bottle tooth decay, affects up to 20 percent of the children under 5, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Photo: botazsolti/Shutterstock)
Oct 18, 2013 | News Americas

ECC is leading cause of day surgery in young Canadian children

by Surgical Tribune

OTTAWA, Canada: Although most Canadian children are treated for caries in community-based dental offices or clinics, a significant number of young children who do not benefit from prevention strategies develop serious dental diseases such as early childhood caries (ECC). According to a new report, this condition accounts for about one-third of all day surgeries for preschoolers.

Overall, an estimated 19,000 day operations are performed to treat cavities caused by dental caries among children younger than 6 each year. According to the report, surgery for ECC accounted for 31 percent of all day surgeries for children aged 1–5 during the two-year period 2010/2011 to 2011/2012, rendering ECC the most common reason for day surgeries among young children. More than 99 percent of the children in the study needed anesthesia owing to the severity of the condition and spent an average of 82 minutes in the operating room.

However, the investigators cautioned that this report represents only the tip of the iceberg because only day procedures at hospitals were included. Children who had undergone surgery in dentists' offices or community clinics were not included.

They also found that rates of ECC day surgeries were almost nine times higher among children who lived in a neighborhood with a high proportion of Aboriginal residents. In addition, rates were more than three times as high for kids from rural neighborhoods as from urban neighborhoods.

The hospital costs totaled CA$21.2 million each year, but the report highlighted that these day operations may have cost more, as the costs of care providers, such as dentists and anesthesiologists, and travel were not included.

The full report, titled "Treatment of Preventable Dental Cavities in Preschoolers: A Focus on Day Surgery Under General Anesthesia," can be downloaded from the Canadian Institute for Health Information's website.

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