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Parental Perception of Oral Health Experiences for Medically Compromised Children: Evaluating the Role of In-House Hospital Dental Services
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The purpose of this study was to determine if children with complicated medical conditions, requiring coordination of care between a dentist and physician, had better oral health experiences if their primary hospital contained in-house dental services. A 20 question survey was sent to 609 parents of children diagnosed with blood disorders, cancers or solid organ transplants who received their medical care at one of two tertiary care pediatric hospitals: one with an in-house dental service (Children’s Medical Center Dallas-CMCD) or one without (Phoenix Children’s Hospital-PCH). The study yielded 172 (28.2 percent) completed surveys—85 patients from CMCD and 87 patients from PCH. Overall, 22.7 percent of parents reported that they had difficulty getting dental care that they or their physician believed was necessary. The primary barrier to care was parents did not know where to find a dentist willing to treat their child because of his or her medical condition. Children who received medical care at CMCD were 2.85 times less likely to have difficulty getting dental care than children treated at PCH (p<0.02). Additionally, children who received their dental care at CMCD were three times more likely to have an easier time getting care compared to those seen at a private dental office (p<0.05). Overall, Spanish speaking families were 2.1 times more likely to have unmet dental needs (p<0.05) and 2.31 times more likely to have difficulty getting dental care (p<0.02) than English speaking families. The data suggest that children with complicated medical conditions may have better oral health experiences if their primary medical hospital has an in-house dental service.
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Itty, Abraham (2016). Parental Perception of Oral Health Experiences for Medically Compromised Children: Evaluating the Role of In-House Hospital Dental Services. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from