Parents’ perceptions on dental care of Dutch children with Autism

Titel: Parents’ perceptions on dental care of Dutch children with Autism
Auteurs: L.S. Kind, I.H.A. Aartman, M.C.M. van Gemert-Schriks, C.C. Bonifacio

AIM: To assess if Dutch children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) regularly visit a dentist and to evaluate the satisfaction of their parents on dental care provided.

METHODS: Parents or caregivers of ASD children aged between 2 and 18 years old were invited to fill in a survey. The invitation was done online, using Dutch ASD communities, and face to face during a Dutch ASD conference. The survey consisted of questions regarding severity of ASD, frequency of dental visits, history of dental pain, type of dental practice and parents’ satisfaction related to dental care provided. Results were analyzed using Chi-square tests (α=5%)

RESULTS: Of the 246 returned questionnaires, 19 were excluded because they were incomplete or the child didn’t have an ASD diagnosis confirmed. All of the children had visited a dentist at least once. For 5% of the children the last visit was more than 12 months ago. Parents reported that 15% of the children did not receive proper dental care when they had a toothache and 21% of the parents stated they were not satisfied with the dental care their child currently receives. Chi-square tests showed no difference between satisfied and unsatisfied parents in gender of the child, severity of ASD and type of dental practice (p>0.05). The children of unsatisfied parents reported more often pain during the last year (p=0.013).

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of Dutch ASD children investigated regularly visit a dentist and 20% of the parents is not satisfied with the dental care provided to their child.

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