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, 55 (1), 17-24

Dentistry and the Children of Poverty

  • PMID: 2448354

Dentistry and the Children of Poverty

J R Pinkham et al. ASDC J Dent Child.


In this paper, the fact that poor people, and specifically poor children, are a problem for our society was discussed. The eradication of poverty is a goal that our nation has not been able to achieve and probably will not reach in the foreseeable future. Data that are supportive of links between poverty and increased needs for dental treatment and difficulty in the acquisition of professional dental care for children were reviewed. Finally, it was pointed out that social consequences surrounding the environments of poor children and, in some instances, the manner in which these children are reared, are predictive of misbehavior at dental appointments, particularly in younger age-groups. Such misbehavior paired with the finding that these children often do need restorative and surgical care may present challenges in patient management. The most important conclusion of this paper is that the dentist must be sensitive to the problems of poor children, responsive to their psychological needs, and prepared to give the extra energy and time that may be needed in management before and during the dental appointment.

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