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Dental health, received care, and treatment needs in 11- to 13-year-old children with immigrant background in Heidelberg, Germany


Abdul-Razak Bissar, Poliklinik für Zahnerhaltungskunde, Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 400, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany. E-mail:


Objectives.  The purpose of the survey was to evaluate the caries experience, the provided care, and the unmet treatment need in 11- to 13-year-old schoolchildren with immigration background compared to children without migration experience.

Methods.  A cross-sectional study of 502 schoolchildren, 48% of which have immigration background, was conducted. Schools in areas of disadvantaged socio-economic status were chosen for this study. DMFT scores, fissure sealants, and the occurrence of orthodontic treatments were recorded.

Results.  The mean DMFT score of the immigrant children was significantly higher than that of the nonmigrants: 1.5 vs. 0.8. The SiC Index was also significantly different in both groups: 3.7 vs. 2.4, respectively. The Unmet Restorative Treatment Need Index was twofold higher in the immigrants compared to the nonmigrants. Only 45.6% of the immigrants had sound permanent teeth compared to 65.5% of the nonmigrants. The average number of sealants per child was 1.9 vs. 2.8, respectively. In addition, only 31.5% of the immigrants were provided with an orthodontic treatment compared to 48.3% of the nonmigrants.

Conclusion.  Children with immigration background demonstrated more caries and received less dental care when compared to children without migration experience. The community prevention programmes, addressed similarly to all children, could not close the gap in oral health between immigrant and non-immigrant children.