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Social Vulnerability in Paediatric Dentistry: An Overview of Ethical Considerations of Therapeutic Patient Education

Abstract

Dental caries is a multifactorial condition that remains a major public health issue in high income countries. The prevalence of dental caries in children has markedly declined in most countries over the past 30 years. However, the disease continues to affect a vulnerable population defined as a high-risk group. As many public health policies are inefficient in dealing with this underprivileged group, it is necessary to find other strategies to decrease the incidence and the burden of dental caries. Defining dental caries as a chronic disease enables us to develop the concept of ‘therapeutic patient education.’ It is meant to train patients to self-manage or adapt treatment to their particular chronic disease and to cope with new processes and skills. The purpose of this paper is to propose a new approach to dental caries, in particular to early childhood caries. That should decrease the gravity and prevalence of the disease in this specific population. As a result, this new approach could increase the quality of life of many children both in terms of function and aesthetics.

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Notes

  1. Service de Protection Maternelle et Infantile, the French public system for mother and childcare.

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Trentesaux, T., Delfosse, C., Rousset, M.M. et al. Social Vulnerability in Paediatric Dentistry: An Overview of Ethical Considerations of Therapeutic Patient Education. Cult Med Psychiatry 38, 5–12 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11013-013-9356-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11013-013-9356-5

Keywords

  • Dental caries
  • Ethics
  • Children
  • Patient education