Aim: The purpose of this review is to present the most recent bibliography regarding the etiology, risk factor indicators, types of dental neglect, and the epidemiological studies, showing the relationship between neglect and dental caries indices. Moreover, the review will focus on the role of oral healthcare professionals in evaluating such conditions.
Background: Untreated oral diseases, like dental caries, can lead to a variety of negative impacts on children including pain and infection. However, such complications can be prevented if a child's basic oral health needs are fulfilled. In addition, it is important to be aware that there are significant inequalities in accessing dental care and poverty, and such cases have to be distinguished from neglect. However, when there is adequate access to oral healthcare services and the parent or the guardian persistently fails to ensure appropriate medical care or treatment for his/her child, the possibility of dental neglect has to be seriously considered.
Review results: Dental neglect can be apart of a child's general neglect with short-term complications, such as caries, as well as long-term consequences that extend to adulthood, such as poor growth and impaired quality of life.
Conclusion: Early diagnosis of dental neglect plays an important role in avoiding adverse impacts on children. Signs and risk factors for dental neglect should alert the dental team in order to intervene in time and prevent suspected cases.
Clinical significance: Diagnosis of dental neglect can be difficult. However, identifying dental neglect at an early stage and making a child protection referral may safeguard the child and prevent further harm. For this reason, dentists should be informed about dental neglect and they should know how to deal with these cases. Effective education is necessary to increase knowledge and awareness of all aspects of child neglect.
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