HSE primary care dentists reported seeing neglected dentitions in children very often. More resources for oral health services, greater guidance and more multidisciplinary involvement are required.
Statement of the problem: Children presenting with neglected dentitions still remains a common occurrence in paediatric dentistry. Dental neglect has comparatively recently been recognised as a child protection issue. Lack of access to services and oral health improvement programmes, along with cultural and educational barriers, contribute to the majority of neglected dentitions observed in children. Dentists need to be aware that a small proportion of children may suffer dental neglect because of parental neglect and will require appropriate follow-up. Awareness of dental neglect is important to help improve the oral health of the most vulnerable children in our society.
Purpose of the study: To report the prevalence of neglected dentitions in children, as perceived by HSE primary care dentists in Ireland.
Materials and methods: Two cross-sectional surveys using web-based anonymous questionnaires were sent to all HSE primary care dental managers (n=17) and all HSE senior and general dentists (n=239) in Ireland.
Results: Some 64.7% (n=11) of managers and 28% (n=67) of HSE dentists returned questionnaires. A total of 61.5% (n=40) of the HSE dentists who responded (n=65) reported seeing neglected dentitions at least once a week in their clinics. In all, 38.7% (n=24) of dentists who responded (n=62) reported seeing children a great deal or a moderate amount of the time, with neglected dentitions, who presented late with a serious dental problem. HSE dentists and their managers requested more resources for oral health, a more targeted approach, greater guidance and more multidisciplinary involvement in order to assist in managing children with neglected dentitions.
Conclusions: Neglected dentitions in children are observed often by HSE primary care dentists in Ireland.
Key words: dentist; public dental service; HSE; reporting; child protection; abuse; dental neglect; neglected dentitions.
Journal of the Irish Dental Association 2018; 64 (3): 139-144
Dr Evelyn Crowley
BDS (NUI) MSc(ULond) DDPHRCSEng MSc(TCD)
Senior Administrative Dental Surgeon, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Dental Clinic HSE, Midleton Hospital, Midleton, Co. Cork
Dr Gerald Byrne
Pharmaceutical Officer (Chief 1 Pharmacist), HSE, Primary Care Reimbursement Service, Dublin 11
Dr Brett Duane
BDS MAM(Health) MPH PhD
Associate Professor, Dental Public Health, Dublin Dental University Hospital
Corresponding author: Dr Evelyn Crowley, T: 021-463 1145, F: 021-427 8461, E: firstname.lastname@example.org