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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 333-336

Awareness and approaches in treating patients with special needs among dental practitioners of Chennai City: A pilot study

Department of Public Health Dentistry, Ragas Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Krishnan Lakshmi
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Ragas Dental College and Hospital, SH109, ECR, Uthandi, Chennai - 600 119, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiaphd.jiaphd_69_18

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Background: Special children are among the underserved dental patient groups around the globe, and their oral health care still remains an unmet challenge among the dental practitioners. One out of two persons with a disability cannot find an oral health professional resource to provide appropriate dental care. The identification of barriers can be the first step in addressing the deficiencies in dental care for such patients. Aim: The aim of the study is to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practices toward treating patients with special care need among private dental practitioners employed at a private dental teaching institution. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional pilot study was conducted among a conveniently sampled 45 dental professionals from the same institution who were both private dental practitioners as well as academicians. The study was conducted between November 2017 and December 2017. Participants were interviewed through a validated questionnaire, which consisted of 14 items. The questionnaire comprised demographic details of the participants, their years of dental experience, disabled patients they had encountered so far in their practice, and questions related to their attitude, perception, and practice to provide oral health care for patients with special needs. Informed consent was obtained from the participants prior to the study. The data obtained were entered into Microsoft Excel 2010 and descriptive statistics was computed using the SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp. Results: A response of 71% was obtained. Majority of the dentists (65%) were unaware of the Right to Disability Act. Half of the dentists (50%) felt teledentistry would do more good to people with special needs. About (31.8%) of them felt inadequate training to handle patients with special needs as major barrier faced while treating them. Conclusion: Majority of the study participants felt inadequate training among the dental practitioners as barrier to treat special needs patients and hence suggested incorporation of special care dentistry into the dental curriculum.

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