Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Pediatric Dentistry

First Advisor

Dr. Tegwyn H. Brickhouse


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to asses the oral health quality of life of children with special health care needs. This study examined the effects of oral health conditions on general well-being and family life of these children. A secondary aim of the study was to investigate correlations between specific health care conditions, gender, and age of these children and their global ratings of oral health and well-being.Methods: This study was a cross-sectional design with subjects who are members of the Virginia Care Connection for Children program, based at Virginia Commonwealth University. The oral health quality of life was measured using a shortened version of the Parental – Caregiver Perceptions Questionnaire (P-CPQ). The questionnaire includes measures of global ratings of oral health and well-being as well as effects of oral health on domains of oral symptoms, functional limitations, emotional well-being, and family well-being/parental distress. The parents/caregivers were asked to report on these domains as they related to their child's oral health within the past 3 months. Additional survey items included questions regarding demographic factors of the child (age, sex, special health care conditions) and parent (i.e. mother, father, or other). Results: The survey was sent out to 429 individuals and 137 usable surveys were returned for a response rate of 32%. Special health care conditions of the children were categorized and reported as follows: 1) Neurodevelopmental/Genetic/Neuro-muscular disorders, N=69 (59.13%); 2) Respiratory disorders, N=12 (10.43%); 3) Cardiac disorders, N=5 (4.35%); 4) Craniofacial disorders, N=12 (10.43%); 5) Metabolic disorders, N=15 (13.04%); 6) Psychological disorders, N=3 (2.61%). In general, caregivers reported the children to have a fair to good oral health quality of life in each domain. It was determined that two of the domains, functional limitations and emotional well-being, were not correlated with the child's oral health or well-being. However, the oral symptoms and family well-being/parental distress domains did have a positive correlation (p = 0.0340 and p = 0.0420, respectively). Conclusions: In a population of children with special health care needs it appears that oral symptoms and family well-being outweighed functional limitations and emotional well-being.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008