Use of dental care services and related factors in students with special health care needs in a rehabilitation and education center
People with special health care needs (SHCN) have a higher risk of contracting certain oral diseases, such as dental cavities and gingivitis, and a limited use of dental care services can significantly affect these risks. Objective: To assess the use of dental care services and related factors in students with SHCN. Materials and methods: This cross-sectional study included subjects from a rehabilitation and education center. The guardians were asked about whether the students already made a dental appointment and about the last time they had visited their dentist. The students were examined for dental cavities. Fisher’s exact test for the association between the outcome and independent variables was employed. Results: The study sample comprised 51 guardians. Forty-seven students had already visited their dentist at least once, and 68% underwent a dental exam within the past year. A recent use of dental service (1 year or less) was more prevalent among female subjects, which did not present a history of dental cavities and about whose caregivers already had received oral health information. Conclusion: Most of the participants already had visited their dentist and regularly use dental services. Caregivers should be encouraged to make regular dentist appointments for SHCN subjects, especially for those who already have oral problems, are male, and whose families have never received oral health information.