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Original Research

Unmet dental and orthodontic need of children with special healthcare needs in West Virginia

Submitted: 26 January 2012
Revised: 19 April 2012
Published: 27 July 2012

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Author(s) : Wiener R, Wiener MA.

Citation: Wiener R, Wiener MA.  Unmet dental and orthodontic need of children with special healthcare needs in West Virginia. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2012; 12: 2069. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=2069 (Accessed 23 October 2017)

ABSTRACT

Introduction:  Of children aged 0–17 years in the USA, an estimated 11 203 616 (15.1%; 95% CI: 14.8, 15.3) are Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN). The state of West Virginia, the heart of Appalachia, has a land mass which is 97.65% rural with previously identified high overall dental need and oral health disparities. It is home to an estimated 70 609 CSHCN, or 18.5% (95% CI: 17.0, 19.9) of the state’s children in 2009–2010. The purpose of this study was to determine the parent/guardian’s perceived unmet dental care need of CSHCN in West Virginia.
Methods:  Data from the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs was used to determine prevalence. A telephone survey of 59 941 parents/guardians of CSHCN (1149 from West Virginia) for the dental interview was conducted in 2009–2010.
Results:  Nationwide, 26.7% (25.9, 27.5) of parents/guardians reported their CSHCN had dental care or orthodontia needs other than preventive care. In West Virginia, the perceived dental care or orthodontia needs other than preventive dental care need was 26.5% (22.2, 30.0). Unmet national dental care need other than preventive dental care was 5.4% (5.0, 5.9) and in West Virginia 5.0% (2.4, 7.5).
Conclusions:  CSHCN have significant unmet dental needs. Parents/guardians in West Virginia reported similar unmet need compared with national reporting. Policies to address the health care of CSHCN should include dental needs. The clinical implications are that CSHCN have a variety of needs, including orthodontia. The benefits of orthodontic referrals should be considered in treatment planning options for CSHCN.

Key words: Children with Special Health Care Needs, unmet dental need, USA, West Virginia.

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