Knowledge, Attitude and Practices in Treating Children with Special Healthcare Needs among Dental Practitioners in Mumbai Metropolitan Region: A Questionnaire-based Survey
Jasmin J Winnier,
D.Y Patil University, School of Dentistry, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Introduction: Dentistry for children with Special Healthcare Needs (SHCN) is challenging and it is essential to understand the barriers faced by dentists in managing such patients.
Aim: The aim of this survey was to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of dental practitioners in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) in treating children with Special Healthcare Needs (CSHCN).
Materials and Methods: An observational, cross-sectional Questionnaire-based study was conducted in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) from January 2021 to August 2021. A 19-item questionnaire was sent to 1624 dentists through email and/ or whatsapp. The age, gender, years of clinical practice, the type of special children encountered, the behaviour management modalities and treatment done for these children were recorded.Data collected was entered into the software International Business Management (IBM) Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) statistics version 20.0 and analysed. Microsoft word and excel (year 2019) were used to generate tables.
Results: Of the 1624 surveys sent, 650 responses were received making it to 40% response rate. Majority of respondents 67% (n=433) were general dental practitioners and 64% (n=416) had their own private practice. Only 39% (n=251) dentists had treated CSHCN in their practice. The most commonly encountered disability was mental retardation and cerebral palsy 23% (n=151). Amongst the clinicians referring the case, most of them, 148 (59%) preferred to refer to paediatric dentists. Regarding the method of management, 78% (n=197) of respondents were confident in treating special children with non pharmacological behaviour management methods and 58% (n=146) were confident with pharmacological methods. The frequently performed treatment procedures were restorative and preventive methods. A total 61% (n=399) of respondents had not encountered CSHCN. Among them, 65% (n=261) felt they had inadequate training in their curriculum, 59% (n=157) wished to treat such patients in future and 56% (n=223) were interested in continuing dental education programmes on the same.
Conclusion: Majority of the dentists had treated children with mental retardation, cerebral palsy and physical disabilities than emotional disabilities. Non pharmacological behaviour management methods were preferred, and preventive and restorative procedures were frequently preformed. Most of the dentists in the present study reported themselves to lack knowledge in treating children with SHCN.