Dentists' Attitudes and Practices Toward Provision of Orthodontic Treatment for Children with Visual and Hearing Impairments

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The objective of this study was to determine differences in behavior and attitudes of dentists in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in providing orthodontic care for children who are sensory impaired. A self-administered questionnaire was sent to all dentists working in Riyadh to assess the following domains: personal characteristics of the dentists and their practices, provision of dental care for children who are visually-impaired (VI) and/or hearing-impaired (HI), and their attitude toward providing orthodontic care for these children. Attitudes were measured on two scales and the overall score of these two scales represented each respondent's attitude. Thirty percent of the dentists provided dental care for children with VI and 45.3 percent did for children with HI. The provision of orthodontic care was significantly affected by the country in which the dentists had received their dental training, both for children with VI and HI (p<0.01), and by number of years they had been in practice for children with VI (p<0.05). Regression analysis showed that only the country of dental training significantly affected the dentist's attitude score. There were also significant variations in attitudes toward the provision of orthodontic treatment for children with sensory impairment (SI), influenced by dental training and experience. In practical terms, this means that improvement in attitudes needs to be initiated at the dental undergraduate level. Establishing global guidelines for the provision of orthodontic treatment for patients with sensory impairment is likely to assist both professionals and patients.

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