Life expectancy of people with permanent disabilities has increased. The dental care of these vulnerable patients is one of the greatest challenges for the dentist and the dental team due to limited or non-existent cooperation and the associated lack of health competence. In order to be able to provide safe and acceptable, quality dental treatment without psychological and physical stress for these patients, it is therefore necessary to resort to sedation or general anaesthesia (GA) under medical supervision. The aim of the analysis is to highlight the need for dental treatment performed under GA for people with disabilities and the associated indications and treatment patterns.
Ten-year retrospective analysis of outpatient dental care under GA for people with disabilities.
Of all adult patients (n = 221) who attended the GA pre-assessment, 69.7% (n = 154) received dental treatment under GA based on the clinical findings or in cases of suspected pain. Most patients received one GA. A total of 205 dental treatment sessions were performed under GA mostly for conservative (n = 442, 52%) and surgical (n = 389, 45.8%) procedures. Endodontic treatment (n = 19, 2.2%) was rare. The failure rate related to all teeth in need of treatment (n = 850) was 5.1% (n = 43), in most cases due to secondary caries (n = 40; 93.0%). Patients were enrolled in an annual recall for dental examination and prophylaxis without GA. Non-compliant patients for whom oral hygiene was impossible received a periodic GA.
There is a high need of people with disabilities for dental treatment under GA. Main indications for treatment under GA are dental complaints, pain or suspected pain. Dental care can be successful if, for the benefit of patients with special needs, all carers cooperate closely. Caregivers have to be trained in nutrition control as well as in oral hygiene. These factors in conjunction help to prevent dental emergencies.