Objective How to organise an appropriate team to provide quality dental care during the Olympic Games has become an important consideration for each successive host country. The aims of this study were to document dental services provided at the Olympic Games and to provide data for planning future events.
Set-up of the dental care department There were six dental chairs in six independent treatment rooms, one technical laboratory, a sterilising room and an x-ray room equipped with one digital panoramic screening machine and one intraoral x-ray machine in the polyclinic in the Olympic Village in Beijing. Shifts comprised 80 dentists and 28 nurses who were organised into three shifts working from 08:00 until 23:00.
Results In the 2008 Olympic Games, there were 1607 cases involving 1126 patients requiring dental care: 795 cases from 516 athletes; 483 cases from 370 coaches and other staff; and 99 cases from volunteers. Endodontic treatments, permanent fillings, oral hygiene, mouthguards and treatment of pericoronitis were the most frequent procedures in dental care. The Mouthguard Service was extremely popular and well utilised. 122 athletes received new custom-made mouthguards in Beijing.
Conclusions As the utilisation of the dental service grows, and the burden of providing care for such a large cohort increases, a well-organised dental team becomes increasingly important. More general-practice dentists were needed in the team. Different kinds of specialist were suggested for working in the team—for example, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, sport dentists for mouthguards and endodontists.
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