Dental Neglect

  • Lora SpillerEmail author
  • James Lukefahr
  • Nancy Kellogg
Brief Report


Dental neglect can be an indicator of general child neglect. Inadequately treated dental disease may have significant long-term impacts on the physical and psychological well-being of children. Primary care providers play a critical role in the prevention of dental neglect, and should be aware of the manifestations of dental caries and dental trauma. When diagnosing dental neglect, health professionals should ensure the child’s caregivers have demonstrated an understanding of the condition, its consequences, and the recommended treatment and then failed to comply with the treatment. Attempts should be made to eliminate any barriers preventing caretakers from complying with professional advice. Dental neglect is a form of child maltreatment and, if suspected, should be reported to the appropriate child protective agencies.


Child maltreatment Medical neglect Physical neglect Early childhood caries Untreated dental caries Untreated dental trauma Oral hygiene Child protective services 



The authors thank Dr. Jeffrey Mabry, DDS for providing the included photographs.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Disclosure of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Division of Child Abuse PediatricsUniversity of Texas Health San Antonio, Center for MiraclesSan AntonioUSA

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