“Mom Let’s Go to the Dentist!” Preliminary Feasibility of a Tailored Dental Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Italian Public Health Service: Brain Sciences

A. Narzisi, M. Bondioli, F. Pardossi, L. Billeci, M.C. Buzzi, M.C. Buzzi, M. Pinzino, C. Senette, V. Semucci, A. Tonacci, F. Uscidda, B. Vagelli, M.R. Giuca, S. Pelagatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show worse oral health than their peers. Their access to health services is, at present, inadequate: few high-quality interventions have been designed and implemented to improve their care procedures so far. The purpose of this study is to describe an experience of dental care supported by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), for children with ASD in a public health service. In our study, 59 children (mean age 9.9 years; SD = 5.43) participated in the MyDentist project. It integrates classic dental care techniques with new practices for desensitization and fear control, delivered through an enhanced customized ICT-based intervention aiming at familiarizing the child with ASD with the medical setting and procedures. Two questionnaires were filled out by parents to describe the acceptability of the MyDentist experience for their children. Significant results were shown from T0 (before initiating MyDentist) to T1 (after 6 months of the MyDentist experience) regarding improved oral hygiene and cooperation during dental treatments. Families positively assessed the use of ICT support. In conclusion, the project demonstrated acceptability by parents, suggesting that public health dental care and prevention can be successfully implemented without resorting to costly pharmacological interventions (with potential side effects), taking better care of children’s health. © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalBrain Sci.
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Dental care
  • ICT
  • Medical procedures
  • Oral health
  • Wearable sensors
  • anxiety
  • Article
  • autism
  • autonomic nervous system
  • caregiver support
  • child
  • content validity
  • dental health
  • dental procedure
  • dentist
  • desensitization
  • DSM-5
  • electrocardiogram
  • electrodermal response
  • fear
  • female
  • follow up
  • heart rate
  • heart rate variability
  • human
  • interrater reliability
  • interview
  • major clinical study
  • male
  • mouth hygiene
  • public health service
  • questionnaire
  • school child
  • task performance

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