Background: The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) like other Defence Forces of the world, conducts medical classification on their members. This medical classification has, as one of the components, an Oral Health Fitness (OHF) classification which is done according to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) standards. The aim of the Oral Health Fitness classification is to standardize dental readiness, assess oral health, prioritize dental care, minimize the number of dental emergencies (DE), and emphasize the importance of good oral health to all active duty and reserve forces. Medical classification is conducted by the South African Military Health Services (SAMHS). Aim: The aim of the study was to evaluate the dental emergency outcomes of the Oral Health Fitness classification of the SAMHS in Area Military Health Unit Gauteng (AMHU GT), South Africa Objectives: To determine dental emergency rate for the SAMHS, analyse the dental emergencies and to make recommendations regarding dental emergencies to the SAMHS Methods: A cross-sectional retrospective record analyses of members of the SANDF that received an OHF classification of 1 and 2 in AMHU GT in 2009. The AMHU GT members were followed up for a year to determine if they developed dental emergencies. Data analysis included frequency tables, chi-square tests and logistic regression analysis. The level of significance was set at p<0.05. Results: The dental emergency rate for AMHU Gauteng was 307/1000 per year. The type of dental emergencies were: 58.5% dental restorations, 13% extractions and related complications, 4.3% crown and bridge, 3.9% emergency root canals, 9.9% recementations, 3.6% denture related problems while other emergencies were 6.8%. Patients were more likely to experience a dental emergency if they were white, female, of OHF 2 classification and older than fifty years of age. Conversely they were least likely to experience a dental emergency if they were black, male, of OHF 1 classification and in the age group 31-40. Conclusion: The dental emergency rate of 307/1000 per year for the SANDF is high compared to military health units from other countries and it was influenced by race, age and gender. The types of dental emergencies were mainly preventable.
Dissertation (MChD)--University of Pretoria, 2012.