Purpose: To estimate the prevalence of dental caries and orofacial pain in 12-year-old schoolchildren in the Southern Brazilian town of Palhoça in 2003 and to compare it with results from 1997. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out involving 444 randomly selected 12-year-old schoolchildren in 2003. WHO (1997) criteria for dental caries and Locker and Grushka (1987) criteria for orofacial pain were used. Chi-square and Fisher exact tests were used to examine association between variables. To test the independence of variables, logistic regression analysis was performed. Results: The prevalence of caries was 55.8%. The mean DMF-T was 1.65. Component D was the one that most contributed to the indicator. In 1997, caries prevalence was 73.5% and the mean DMF-T was 2.84. Similarly, the component that most contributed to the indicator was D with 74.0%. In the trend analysis a reduction of 24.1% in the caries prevalence and 41.9% in the severity measured by the DMF-T was observed. The prevalence of orofacial pain was 66.6%. In 1997, the prevalence was 79.5%. In both years the most common type of pain was stimulated toothache. A reduction of 12.9% in the prevalence of orofacial pain and 28.3% in stimulated toothache was observed. Results of the logistic regression analysis showed that orofacial pain was associated with dental caries independently of other studied variables. Conclusion: A reduction in both caries and orofacial pain in the studied period was observed. Orofacial pain was independently associated with the presence of caries.
Keywords: dental caries, orofacial pain, trends, prevalence