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Open AccessArticle

Dental Attendance in Undocumented Immigrants before and after the Implementation of a Personal Assistance Program: A Cross-Sectional Observational Study

Department of Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, Special Needs in Oral Health, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
Dent. J. 2018, 6(4), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/dj6040073
Received: 27 October 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 14 December 2018
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Abstract

Undocumented immigrants are a high-risk social group with low access to care. The present study aims to increase awareness and dental attendance in this subgroup, assisted by community health workers (CHW). Starting from 2015, two trained dentists volunteered to perform free oral health examinations and further dental care referral in a welfare organisation in Ghent, Belgium. In 2016 and 2017, a two-day oral health training was added, enabling social workers to operate as community oral health workers and to provide personal oral health advice and assistance. Over the three years, an oral health examination was performed on 204 clients from 1 to 69 years old, with a mean age of 36.7 (SD = 15.9), showing high levels of untreated caries (71.6%; n = 146) and a Dutch Periodontal Screening Index (DPSI) score of 3 or 4 in 62.2% of the sample (n = 97). Regarding dental attendance, the total number of missed appointments decreased significantly, with 40.9% in 2015, 11.9% in 2016 and 8.0% in 2017 (p < 0.001). Undocumented immigrants can be integrated into professional oral health care. Personal assistance by community health workers might be an effective method, although this requires further investigation. View Full-Text
Keywords: undocumented immigrants; oral health care; community health workers undocumented immigrants; oral health care; community health workers
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Lambert, M. Dental Attendance in Undocumented Immigrants before and after the Implementation of a Personal Assistance Program: A Cross-Sectional Observational Study. Dent. J. 2018, 6, 73.

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