Module 3 Key Points
- To provide appropriate oral health care for children with special health care needs, oral health professionals need to gather key information from parents about the mother’s perinatal care and the child’s developmental, medical, dental, and nutritional histories.
- As part of an oral health examination, oral health professionals should
assess the following: enamel hypoplasia and enamel demineralization (white
spots); presence and severity of dental caries; developmental anomalies,
delayed tooth eruption, and malocclusion; diseases of the gingiva and other
soft tissues; oral reflexes and oral sensitivity; and oral injuries.
- Dental trauma may be an important marker for child abuse because craniofacial, head, face, and neck injuries occur in more than half of the cases of child abuse.
- Some children with special health care needs may be at risk for abuse and/or neglect if a parent or another caregiver is overwhelmed, becomes frustrated with the child’s behavior, or is unable to understand the child’s limitations.
- As part of health supervision, oral health professionals should provide parents with anticipatory guidance. Although anticipatory guidance for most children is based on chronological age, in children with special health care needs it is based on an overall assessment of the child’s growth and development and level of functioning in activities of daily living.
- Although non-nutritive sucking habits in children under age 3 usually are of little consequence to the orofacial structures, such habits, when they persist, may cause problems with skeletal and dental growth and development.
- Oral health professionals should discuss with parents what measurable outcomes of oral health supervision are reasonable to expect.