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Are dental care providers in Saudi Arabia prepared to treat patients with special needs?

Authors Alumran A, Almulhim L, Almolhim B, Bakodah S, Aldossary H, Alrayes SA

Received 10 January 2019

Accepted for publication 21 March 2019

Published 23 April 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 281—290


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Arwa Alumran, Luloah Almulhim, Bainah Almolhim, Shouq Bakodah, Hessa Aldossary, Saja A Alrayes

Health Information Management and Technology Department, College of Public Health, Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University, Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia

Background: Equity in services accessibility is one of the major components of good quality healthcare. However, patients with special needs have limited access to dental care services, which could be due to the lack of training and experience of the dental care providers that might effect on their preparedness and willingness when it comes to caring for the patients with special needs.
Objectives: The main objective of this study is to determine the factors influencing the preparedness and willingness of dental care providers at different Saudi Arabian universities to provide treatment to patients with special needs.
Methods: A Cross-sectional study design targeting all dental care providers such as interns, residents, specialists, consultants, dental nurses and students from universities around Saudi Arabia. Two scales were adapted to determine the dental care providers’ perceived preparedness and willingness to treat patients with special needs.
Results: A total of 243 participants from dental colleges around Saudi universities were included in the study. Males appeared to be more prepared and willing to treat patients with special needs compared to females. Dental care providers from King Saud University perceived more preparedness compared to other universities in the study. While graduates from King Abdulaziz University exhibit more preparedness to treat patients with special needs compared to graduates from other universities in the study. Also, dental care providers who have treated a patient with special needs perceived more preparedness to treat them again.
Conclusion: When a dental care provider have treated a patient with special needs or just dealt with them in a daily life, this experience procured high preparedness score, however, did not influence on their willingness score in the treatment of these individuals. Good dental education programs are important to provide equity of dental care services to all parts of the community equally.

Keywords: autism spectrum disorder, dental care, oral health, dental education, quality of healthcare, social determinants of health

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