The Use of Medically Required Dental Services by Youth with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities in British Columbia, Canada

J Can Dent Assoc. 2023 Jul:89:n7.


Introduction: The literature indicates that youth with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD), such as Down syndrome or autism, have poor oral health. A number of factors influence their oral health, including the use of medically required dental treatments.

Methods: This paper describes the first use of population-level administrative health data to examine the use of medically required dental services by youth with IDD compared with youth without IDD in Canada.

Results: Youth with IDD had 4-9 times the odds of a medically required dental treatment compared with youth without IDD. Odds varied with age and type of IDD.

Conclusions: Youth with IDD used medically required dental services to a greater extent than youth without IDD. Use of medically required dental treatments by youth with IDD declined with age; this may indicate greater difficulty accessing services when youth transition from pediatric to adult services. These findings provide baseline information on the use of medically required dental treatments and can contribute to future assessments of dental services for youth with IDD.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Dental Care
  • Developmental Disabilities* / epidemiology
  • Developmental Disabilities* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability* / epidemiology
  • Intellectual Disability* / therapy
  • Oral Health