Review of the dental treatment backlog of people with disabilities in Europe
Keywords:Disability, Oral health, Review, Determinants
Aim: The present research aims at reviewing the oral health conditions and treatment needs of people with disabilities in Europe.
Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted using Medline and Embase with a timeframe from January 2008 until December 2017. Subsequently, a citation tracking was undertaken. Articles in English, French and Dutch were included.
Results: Forty-two articles were included. A variety of oral health problems and treatment needs was reported. More untreated carious lesions, less restorations, a higher number of extractions and less prosthetic rehabilitations were seen in people with disabilities compared with other individuals without disabilities. The oral hygiene level and the periodontal conditions were poor. Moreover, a higher risk of dental trauma, orthodontic problems and tooth wear were reported. Discussion: Different determinants contribute to the oral health condition and treatment needs of people with disabilities. These determinants can be inherent in persons with a disability (biological factors), their lifestyle, the environment or the organization of oral health care. A treatment backlog was a common finding in people with disabilities. However, results need to be interpreted with caution because of the variety of people with disabilities included in this literature review. Proposed solutions can be put at the level of daily oral care, through oral health promotion programs and the creation of a supportive environment, but also at the level of dental attendance, facilitating the access to oral health care services and focusing the training of dental students and dentists.
Conclusion: This comprehensive review clearly shows a dental treatment backlog in people with disabilities. Solutions require efforts from the caregivers and dental professionals.