Characteristics of patients with autistic disorder (AD) presenting for dental treatment: a survey and chart review

Spec Care Dentist. Sep-Oct 1999;19(5):200-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-4505.1999.tb01386.x.


A group of 43 patients with AD (mean age, 13.5; SD, 5.9 yrs) was identified from the University Hospital School Pediatric Dentistry Clinic. We reviewed the patients' charts to obtain demographic data, dental findings, and the management techniques used for treatment. The patients were divided into groups according to Frankl's categories of behavior, ranging from definitely negative to positive. Descriptive data are provided for each group. Commonly used communications and pharmacological management techniques, as well as physical restraints, enabled us to treat all the patients in the traditional dental setting, when simple procedures were planned. Treatment under general anesthesia in the operating room was necessary in 37% of all patients when comprehensive care was required or difficult procedures were carried out. A questionnaire was also sent out to the caregivers to gather data on patients' nutrition and eating/chewing habits. In the sample surveyed, two-thirds of the individuals reportedly exhibited a normal eating pattern, while 14% pouched food. Soft, sweet, or sticky foods were preferred by 41% of the patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anesthesia, Dental
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Autistic Disorder*
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Care for Disabled*
  • Dental Caries / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Gingivitis / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressive Agents