Oral care for special needs patients: a survey of Nebraska general dentists

Fouad Saad Salama, Amy Kebriaei, Timothy Durham
Pediatric Dentistry 2011, 33 (5): 409-14

PURPOSE: The purpose of this survey was to assess the attitudes, behavior, and demographics of general dentists in Nebraska regarding their providing oral health care to patients with special health care needs (PSHCN).

METHODS: A 14-item questionnaire and accompanying cover letter were sent to 800 licensed general dentists in Nebraska. The survey asked for the dentists' demographic information and questions about their PSCHN. Responses to the questionnaire were tabulated, and percent frequency distributions for responses to each item were computed.

RESULTS: Of the 800 surveys sent, 371 (approximately 46%) were returned. Solo practitioners were more likely to report seeing PSCHN (P<.001). Most respondents see all ages, but approximately 10% see only PSCHN over 18-years-old. The most common reasons given to improve the practitioners' ability to care for PSCHN were improved reimbursement (approximately 35%) and more continuing education (approximately 36%).

CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that most general dentists surveyed in Nebraska see special needs patients of all ages. The most common reasons for not seeing more special needs patients were the level of the patient's disease, the patient's behavior, and insufficient training/experience.


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