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Pediatr Dent. 2005 Mar-Apr;27(2):137-42.

Parental perceptions of oral health-related quality of life for children with special needs: impact of oral rehabilitation under general anesthesia.

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Franciscan Hospital for Children, Boston, Mass, USA.



The purposes of this study were to: (1) describe the symptoms, daily life problems and parental concerns related to oral health for children with special health care needs; and (2) examine the effectiveness of oral rehabilitation under general anesthesia at improving quality of life (QOL).


A single-group design measuring change over time was used. Family caregivers of 107 children with special needs, for whom oral rehabilitation under general anesthesia was recommended, completed a QOL survey upon dental examination.


Seventy-three children underwent oral rehabilitation, and 50 completed a follow-up survey. The most frequent survey responses before oral rehabilitation were: (1) spontaneous toothache and pain with hot/cold temperatures (oral symptoms); (2) difficulty eating and sleeping (daily life problems); and (3) worrying about eating and nutrition (parental concerns). Severity ratings for oral symptoms, daily life problems, and parental concerns were significantly lower (P<.001), and scores for oral well-being were significantly higher (P<.001) following oral rehabilitation.


Family caregivers of special health care needs patients report a variety of oral symptoms, daily life problems, and concerns attributable to their child's oral health that impact QOL. Oral rehabilitation under general anesthesia is effective at improving QOL for special health care needs children and their families.

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