PREVALENCE, SEVERITY AND PATTERN OF DENTAL CARIES AMONG FEMALE SCHOOLCHILDREN IN EASTERN PROVINCE
The objective of this study was to evaluate the caries prevalence, severity and pattern in female schoolchildren in Dhahran and Al-Khobar (Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia). The study included 472 female schoolchildren from public schools and 667 female schoolchildren from private schools in Dhahran and Al-Khobar. All the participating students were clinically examined for dental caries, filled and missing teeth. The total number of female students examined in the study was 895; 472 from public schools and 423 from private schools. The overall caries prevalence was 80.73 % with a mean DMFT score of 4.4± 3.9. For public schools, the caries prevalence was 93.05% with a mean DMFT score of 7.87± 3.77, while for private schools, the prevalence of dental caries was 68.39% with a mean DMFT score of 2.31± 2.62. The results showed that prevalence of dental caries was 87.5%, 92.6% and 99.4% respectively in grade I, VII and X female schoolchildren from public schools. The mean caries scores were 5.94 ± 4.14, 4.39 ± 2.83 and 9.13± 4.34 respectively in grade I, VII and X public female schoolchildren. In private schools, the prevalence of dental caries was 62.3% for grade I, 70.27% for grade VII and 72.62% for grade X schoolchildren. The mean caries scores were 2.26±2.78, 2.12±2.39, and 2.54±2.69 respectively. The prevalence and severity of dental caries was found to be higher in public schools as compared to the private schools. It can be concluded that caries prevalence and severity were very high among female schoolchildren in Dhahran and Al-Khobar regions. The overall caries experience was higher in schoolchildren from public schools as compared to the private schools.