Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of comprehensive dental rehabilitation on the percentile weight and percentile growth velocity of children with early childhood caries (ECC).
Methods: The percentile weight categories of children with noncontributory medical histories and ECC were compared to caries free comparison patients, before and after comprehensive dental treatment under general anesthesia.
Results: Prior to dental rehabilitation, test subjects' percentile weight categories were significantly less than that of comparison counterparts (P < 0.001). Of the ECC patients, 13.7% weighed less than 80% of their ideal weight, thereby satisfying one of the criteria for the designation of failure to thrive, while none of the comparison patients did so (P < 0.05). Following therapeutic intervention, ECC children exhibited significantly increased growth velocities through the course of the follow-up period (P < 0.001), reflecting the phenomenon of catch up growth. The average length of follow-up for the test and comparison groups were 1.58 and 1.36 years, respectively. At the end of the follow-up period there were no longer any statistically significant differences noted in the percentile weight categories of the test and comparison groups.
Conclusion: Comprehensive dental rehabilitation resulted in catch-up growth, such that children with a history of nursing caries no longer differed in percentile weights from comparison patients.