To determine the reasons for referral for dental general anaesthesia (DGA) in children in North Wales and to ascertain the level of repeat DGA.
Retrospective study of the clinical records for a random sample of 10-year-old children who had a DGA before November 1998.
DGAs carried out at two centres within the Community Dental Service (CDS) in the former county of Clwyd, North Wales.
A random sample of children who had a DGA between April 1995 and November 1998 from whose records data was collected regarding the reason for referral and outcome.
It was found that 26.6% of children had received an additional DGA, but the total of 203 additional episodes (including third and fourth DGAs) represents a true rate of 31.8%. The General Dental Service (GDS) referred more than double the numbers of children than the CDS but the referral rate per dentist was reversed with the GDS referring an average of 5.2 subjects and the CDS 11.9 subjects. Around half of all referrals did not include a medical history.
The repeat DGA rate was cause for concern as was the quality of referrals.