Oral health and dentistry

A parent told us how they had experienced difficulties with their child when attending the dentist, and wanted to know whether there were any special techniques that could be used when children could not sit still or found it difficult to cooperate, particularly when taking X-rays. As part of our process to produce a summary of research evidence about this issue we consulted other parents in our Family Faculty.

Families raised a number of issues about managing oral health for their children on a day-to-day basis, not just when attending the dentist. We convened a meeting with several parents, professionals with an interest in special care dentistry, and academic colleagues from Peninsula Dental School (Plymouth University). We also consulted some young people in special schools about their views on teeth and going to the dentist; this suggests they have some fears that may be addressed through improving understanding and communication between the child and dentist.

PenCRU and Professor David Moles, Director of Postgraduate Education and Research, Peninsula Dental School supported Nicole Thomas, a parent of a child with autism and a dental hygienist, to secure funding from the Oral & Dental Research Trust.  The project (APEx-D) aimed to identify key strategies to improve access to general dental care for children with autism spectrum disorders in the prevention of dental caries (tooth decay). Members of our Family Faculty helped design this research which involved interviewing parents of primary school aged children in Somerset and Devon, UK about their experiences of taking their child with autism for a dental examination.

If you are interested in this topic or have any questions, please get in touch.


The notes from meetings held in relation to this project are also available:

Meeting Notes                                            

9 February 2017 APEx-D meeting PDF 310KB
13 July 2015 APEx-D meeting PDF 325KB
1 June 2015 APEx-D meeting  PDF 359KB
13 February 2014 Oral Health and Dentistry meeting word 102KB