Behaviour guidance in dental treatment of patients with autism spectrum disorder

Int J Paediatr Dent. 2009 Nov;19(6):390-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2009.01011.x. Epub 2009 Jul 9.


Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder categorized into autism, pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.

Aims: To identify factors associated with the behaviour of patients with ASD in a dental setting, use of general anaesthesia (GA), and protective stabilization.

Design: The dental charts of 395 patients with ASD patients and 386 unaffected patients were reviewed. The following data were analysed: ASD diagnosis, age, gender, residence, seizure disorder, additional diagnosis (mental retardation, cerebral palsy, self-injurious behaviour or pica), medications, caries prevalence and severity, dental treatment history, behaviour, and behaviour guidance technique(s) used.

Results: Within both groups, younger patients were more uncooperative. ASD patients with autism were more uncooperative than patients with PDD-NOS; patients with an additional diagnosis were also more uncooperative. ASD patients with higher caries severity, who were uncooperative or female, were more likely to require GA. Use of protective stabilization was associated with lower caries severity, presence of seizure disorder, uncooperative behaviour, male gender, or residency in a group home/institution.

Conclusions: Autism spectrum disorder patients with autism, younger age and an additional diagnosis were more uncooperative. Factors associated with the use of GA and protective stabilization in patients with ASD were also identified.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anesthesia, Dental / methods
  • Anesthesia, General
  • Behavior Control / methods*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / etiology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / therapy*
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / complications*
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / therapy
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conscious Sedation
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Care for Disabled*
  • Dental Caries / complications*
  • Dental Caries / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Restraint, Physical
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult