Purpose: The oral health status in special children is a major problem due to the lack of manual dexterity and inability to understand the importance of oral health. A cross-sectional survey was conducted to check the oral health status of special children with hearing and speech problems.
Materials and methods: A total of 360 hearing and speech impaired children aged 6–16 years attending three special schools in Delhi, India, were included in the present study. Various oral health parameters, viz., dental caries, dental traumatic injuries, gingival health, developmental defects of enamel, malocclusion, caries activity, and unmet treatment needs were recorded.
Results: The prevalence of dental caries was found to be 73.7% with a mean Decayed missing filled teeth (DMFT) and decayed missing filled teeth (dmft) of 1.15 ± 1.71 and 1.38 ± 2.27, respectively; the differences between gender were statistically not significant (p value > 0.05). Around 68% of children were in need of preventive care, and 52.5% children needed one surface filling. Around 84% of children had moderate gingivitis. The mean gingival index score was 1.20 ± 0.15; the difference between gender and age groups was statistically not significant (p value > 0.05). Dental traumatic injuries were observed in 2.8% of children. Developmental defects of enamel were observed in 13.8% of children. Angles’ class I malocclusion was prevalent in 28.1% of children. High caries activity was observed in 61.4% of children.
Conclusion: A high prevalence of dental caries, high caries activity, poor gingival health, and extensive unmet oral health needs were observed in hearing and speech impaired children, thus emphasizing the need of educating parents/caretakers to prevent and treat dental diseases in these special children.
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