237785 Dentists Willingness and Comfort Level in Treating Children with Special Needs

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lisa Jacob, DDS , Craniofacial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, Austin, TX
Methods: The study population consisted of 1,340 pediatric and general dentists in the 46-county area of Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin, Texas. Data were collected by a self-administered mail survey that consisted of 16 items of which six were pre-coded. The survey investigated the dentists' willingness to treat children with special needs, their comfort level in doing so, and barriers to treating these children.

Results: After two mailings, the effective response to the survey was 15%. Respondents consisted mainly of males (69%) who had been in practice for 17.9 +12.7 years. The majority of respondents were in private practice (86.1%). On average, respondents were seeing 103 patients per week, of whom only two were children with special needs. Nearly 40% of respondents felt comfortable treating children with special needs, had received adequate training to treat children with special needs and actually treat special needs in their practices. Nearly two-thirds (58.3%) of the respondents referred children with special needs to other providers. Reasons for not treating children with special needs included inadequate training ( 19.6%), inadequate equipment (12.9%) and poor comfort level (17.5 %).

Conclusion: Access to dental care for children with special needs is inadequate in the 46-county catchment area. Strategies to alleviate the lack of access should include continuing education courses for dentists on treating special needs children

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Objective: Assess the frequency of dentistsí participation and their perception about treating children with special needs in Central Texas.

Keywords: Oral Health, Special Needs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee programs such as crnaiofacial and reconstructive plastic surgery, which involves pediatric populations with cleft lip and palate and special healthcare needs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.