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Implications for practice

  • Failure to attend appointments when the child is experiencing pain or discomfort, or failure to adhere to a recommended treatment plan should prompt a full investigation of the explanation for this
  • Given the varying prevalence of caries amongst young children in Western populations, it is impossible to define a precise threshold for dental neglect based on this feature. However, a child who is experiencing pain, discomfort, social embarrassment or medical complications as a consequence of caries should be attending for appropriate treatment
  • Dentists are strongly encouraged to collaborate with their local safeguarding / child protection team in order to ensure that prompt and appropriate referrals are made when concerns regarding dental neglect arise


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