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Vol. 72, No. 10
ISSN: 1488-2159
December 2006/January 2007


Patients with Special Health Care Needs in General and Pediatric Dental Practices in Ontario


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• Warren P. Loeppky, DMD, MSc, FRCD(C) •
• Michael J. Sigal, DDS, Dip Paedo, MSc, FRCD(C) •

A b s t r a c t

The objective of this study was to determine the involvement of Ontario's general and pediatric dentists in providing care to patients with special health care needs (PSHCNs). A questionnaire was developed and sent to a randomly selected sample of general dentists and to all pediatric dentists in Ontario; response rates were 52% and 90%, respectively. Most general dentists and all pediatric dentists reported that they provided a full range of dental services to PSHCNs. Most (80%) general dentists treat PSHCNs of all ages, whereas 60% of pediatric dentists report only treating PSHCNs up to the age of 18 years. A majority of both groups report treating PSHCNs whose dental care is paid through various government-funded programs. Most general dentists received training in the treatment of PSHCNs in undergraduate dental school, and 40% reported taking continuing education courses in this area. Most pediatric dentists received this training during their advanced dental specialty training, and 29% reported taking continuing education courses in this area. The results of this survey appear to demonstrate that general and pediatric dentists in Ontario provide a full range of dental services to PSHCNs, treat patients with a variety of disabilities and of all ages and are interested in pursuing continuing education that focuses on the delivery of dental care to PSHCNs. However, the results may be inaccurate because of question design flaws and responder bias among the 52% of surveyed general dentists who returned their questionnaires.


MeSH Key Words: dental care for disabled; dentist's practice patterns; pediatric dentistry
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