APH 2006, 64, 269-275:
Care for Special Needs Patients in General Dental Practice in Flanders.
D. Declerck, F. Vinckier, S. Gizani
Keywords: dental care for disabled, access to dental care
Aim: The aim of this survey was to assess professional attitudes and
perceived barriers to dental care delivery for disabled and medically compromised
patients, among dental practitioners in Flanders (Belgium).
Methods: A structured questionnaire consisting of items recording
personal information, dental practice profile, training received, treatment
delivered to special needs patients and attitude towards organisational
aspects of care delivery for these patients, was completed by 157
Flemish dental practitioners out of a convenience sample of 199 dentists
attending postgraduate courses (response rate of 78.9%).
Results: Most of the dentists were active as general dental practitioners
(76.4%) working exclusively in private practice (80.9%). The delivery
of dental care to patients with special needs was reported by 87.3%
of the dentists. Referral for care delivery in a specialized centre was
reported by 67.5% of dentists. The most frequently reported problem
was the insufficient level of cooperation of the patient (81.5%). Professional
cleaning was the most frequently performed type of treatment, closely followed by restorative treatment and dental extractions. Least
frequently performed treatment was orthodontic treatment, closely
followed by endodontic treatment, periodontal treatment and prosthetic
Conclusions: Further research is needed to determine the type of
training needed for dental practitioners, the kind of referral facilities for
special dental care that need to be developed and initiatives to consider
for optimizing dental care delivery in special needs patients in the
Flemish dental setting.