To investigate the oral health status and treatment needs of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
In this retrospective study, the records of children between the ages of 6 and 14 who attended the College of Dentistry, University of Saskatchewan between 2016 and 2019 were reviewed. Demographic and clinical data was collected and compared for children who were identified as having FASD and a healthy control group.
From our total sample of 252 dental records, 68 children were identified with FASD. When compared to controls, children with FASD were significantly older at their first dental visit, and more dependent on public dental insurance. Children with FASD also had a significantly higher caries experience (97% vs 64.7%) and severity (DMFT/dmft score = 7.18 ± 1.79 vs 2.93 ± 0.98). Additionally, the results of our logistic regression model indicate that children with FASD were 4.71 times more likely (OR 4.71, 95% CI 1.58 –14.03) to be referred for treatment under general anesthesia (GA) when all other factors were controlled.
Children with FASD may be at a higher risk for poor oral health outcomes and have more extensive treatment needs. Our results indicate that they may also be at a higher risk for treatment under GA.
Oral healthcare providers need to be award of the unique needs of children with FASD to better prevent and manage their oral disease.