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Provision of dental care for medically compromised children in the UK by General Dental Practitioners


Jennifer Parry GKT, Department of Paediatric Dentistry, Guy’s Hospital, St. Thomas Street, London SE1, UK.


The aim of this study was to investigate the views of General Dental Practitioners (GDPs) regarding their provision of dental treatment for medically compromised children. A questionnaire to assess confidence, experience and willingness to treat eight specific groups of medically compromised children was sent to 524 GDPs. Information is based on 271 completed questionnaires.

The median number of children treated by GDPs in each of the eight groups over the previous 5 years was 0–2. Eighty percent of respondents stated that they would value further training in the provision of dental care for medically compromised children. Confidence was highest in providing dental treatment for children with three conditions: congenital heart disease (37% very confident), diabetes (39% very confident) and epilepsy (41% very confident). These were also the conditions that the GDPs reported as presenting most frequently in the dental surgery. GDPs reported least confidence in providing dental care for children with haemophilia (12% very confident) and organ transplants (14% very confident). Only 30% of GDPs wanted to be routinely involved with the provision of dental care for medically compromised children. The results indicate that medically compromised children may have problems accessing dental care and expertise. A system of integrated medical and specialised dental care is suggested.