Treatment under general anaesthesia improved quality of life for children with early childhood caries

An operating theatre.

Despite improvements in oral health in many countries early childhood caries (ECC) remains the most common reason for hospital admissions for paediatric patients.  Children with ECC have a lower oral-health-related quality of  life (OHRQoL).  The aim of this study was to see whether dental treatment of young Auckland children under GA improved oral-health-related quality of life for them and their families.

A consecutive clinical sample of parents/caregivers of children (10 years or younger) treated under GA  had pretest/post test questionnaires administered .  The questionnaires,   Parental-Caregivers Perceptions Questionnaire (P-CPQ) and a Family Impact Scale (FIS) had been validated previously. 91.7% (144)  of the baseline sample of 157 were followed up.

They found

  • The overall P-CPQ score showed a large decrease following treatment, along with an increase in the number scoring 0 (no impact).
  • Similar relative changes were observed in the oral symptoms and emotional well-being subscales, whereas the other two subscales showed moderate decreases.
  • All post-treatment FIS scores were lower than pre-treatment ones; all showed moderate effect sizes.
  • The greatest relative changes were seen in the parental ⁄family activity and parental emotions subscales.

The authors concluded

The dental treatment of young children under GA is associated with considerable improvement in their OHRQoL. The P-CPQ and the FIS are valid and responsive to treatment associated changes in young children with early childhood caries (ECC).

GAYNOR, W. N. and THOMSON, W. M. (2011), Changes in young children’s OHRQoL after dental treatment under general anaesthesia. International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2011.01190.x


Related reviews

Jankauskiene B, Narbutaite J. Changes in oral health-related quality of life among children following dental treatment under general anaesthesia. A systematic review. Stomatologija. 2010;12(2):60-4. Review. PubMed PMID: 20679758.



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Derek Richards

Derek Richards is a specialist in dental public health, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Dentistry and Specialist Advisor to the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) Development Team. A former editor of the Evidence-Based Dentistry Journal and chief blogger for the Dental Elf website until December 2023. Derek has been involved with a wide range of evidence-based initiatives both nationally and internationally since 1994. Derek retired from the NHS in 2019 remaining as a part-time senior lecturer at Dundee Dental School until the end of 2023.

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