Infant oral health examinations: pediatric dentists' professional behavior and attitudes

Pediatr Dent. 2009 May-Jun;31(3):202-9.


Purpose: The purposes of this study were to: (1) determine pediatric dentists' behaviors and attitudes concerning infant oral health examinations (IOHEs); and (2) explore how respondents who do or do not perform IOHEs differ in their behavior and attitudes concerning IOHEs.

Methods: Survey data were collected from 2157 members of the AAPD (response rate=49%). Most respondents were male (67%) and practiced in solo practices (45%).

Results: While 84% of the respondents agreed with the AAPD policy concerning IOHEs and reported that they perform IOHEs, only 53% indicated that they see infants 12 months old or less. The majority of respondents engaged in oral hygiene education (86%) and performed soft and hard tissue exams (81% and 75%, respectively). Fewer practitioners assessed family dynamics (33%), or talked about injury prevention (53%). The respondents had positive attitudes concerning IOHEs. These attitudes were correlated with the number of IOHEs conducted.

Conclusions: The finding that only 53% of the respondents see 1-year-old children or younger shows that efforts need to continue to increase the percentage of dentists who offer IOHEs. Most respondents held rather positive attitudes toward IOHEs. They differed in the amount of time they schedule for these exams and the issues they address.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Dental Care for Children*
  • Dental Caries Susceptibility
  • Education, Dental, Continuing
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Health Education, Dental
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Parents / education
  • Pediatric Dentistry* / education
  • Physical Examination
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists'*
  • Private Practice
  • Risk Assessment
  • Time Factors
  • Tooth Injuries / prevention & control
  • United States