The purpose of this study was to describe community-based preventive interventions undertaken by the dental team outside the dental clinics in Norway, from the dental hygienists’ and the dentists’ perspective, with the main focus on target groups and existing guidelines and routines for these activities. A secondary aim was to identify the personnel responsible for developing the local guidelines and the knowledge sources for the guidelines.
With the assistance of the Chief Dental Officers in 15 Public Dental Service (PDS) regions, questionnaires were emailed to the local clinics (n = 421). In each, the most experienced dental hygienist and dentist were asked to respond; 215 dentists and 166 and dental hygienists responded (60%).
Almost 40% of the respondents reported that their clinic had guidelines on community-based activities conducted outside the clinics. Dental hygienists and local chief dentists were responsible for planning them. The main target groups were young children and the dependent elderly; the majority of the activities were carried out at child welfare centres and for personnel at nursing homes or for home care nurses.
At the regional and local level, a more strategic and coordinated approach to the provision of community-based activities is needed, including assessment of oral health needs among population groups. Continuous documentation and evaluation of results are necessary for optimal use of available resources and to facilitate an evidence-based approach.