Provider and patient perceptions about dental care during pregnancy

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maternal Fetal Medicine Division, Center for Biostatistics, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, 1654 Upham Drive, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.
Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.37). 02/2008; 21(1):63-71. DOI: 10.1080/14767050701796681
Source: PubMed


To compare the opinions of dentists, obstetricians, and patients on dental care in pregnancy: its necessity, accessibility, and safety.
A 35-item questionnaire was distributed within Ohio, to 400 patients and 1000 providers between October 2004 and July 2005. Univariate comparisons between dentists and obstetricians were made by Fisher's exact test. Adjustments for confounding were made through logistic regression models.
Most providers rated prenatal dental screening as important, agreeing that poor dental hygiene related to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Although 84% of patients reported dental visits as safe, only 44% received care; the main limitation was financial. Providers agreed that pregnant patients could undergo dental cleanings, caries treatments, and abscess drainage but disagreed regarding the safety of X-rays, periodontal surgery, amalgam, and narcotic usage. In general, obstetricians were more comfortable than dentists with procedures and medication usage but less often reported recommending routine prenatal dental care.
Different respondent perceptions exist regarding the safety, accessibility, and necessity of prenatal dental treatments. Professional guidelines about oral health screening in pregnancy and the safety of dental procedures would benefit our patients and colleagues.

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    • "Also, because of a lack of knowledge regarding the safety of treatment during pregnancy, fear of malpractice, or fear that a woman may go into labor, dentists may refuse outright to treat pregnant women (Strafford et al., 2008), may revise treatment plans when they discover a woman's pregnancy, or may postpone care until after the woman has given birth (Livingston et al., 1998; Pistorius et al., 2003). Additionally, some pregnant women feel that going to the dentist is unsafe during pregnancy (Strafford et al., 2008) and may postpone treatment until after the birth, but at that point access to dental care may be restricted due to childcare and time or financial constraints (Redford, 1993). Pregnant women in the US have high levels of dental disease (Silberman et al., 1980) and treatment needs (Gaffield et al., 2001; Lydon-Rochelle et al., 2004), but the proportion of pregnant women who report having a dental visit is low (22.4- "
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