It is difficult to believe that preventive dentistry has only been in practice for a little over 50 years in the United States (U.S.). Prior to the 1960s, dentistry did not include routinely scheduled patient care. Although preventive dentistry is common practice in the U.S., currently dental caries affects 1 in 5 children 2-5 years of age. Recent statistics from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) indicate dental caries in children 2-8 years old was twice as high for Hispanic and non-Hispanic black children compared with non-Hispanic white children. Three in five adolescents 12-19 years of age had experienced dental caries in permanent teeth and 15% had untreated caries. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), only 61% of adults ages 65 and older have visited a dentist in the last year and the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP) report that 1/3 of elderly adults are edentulous. Each year more than 39,500 Americans have been diagnosed with oral and pharyngeal cancers. The American Cancer Society indicates 7,500 people have died from these cancers in 2015. This course includes current data for dental clinicians as they determine patient treatment.
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