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A Conceptual Model of Parental Behavior Change Following a Child's Dental General Anesthesia Procedure

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate parents' challenges to long-term maintenance of healthy behaviors following their child's dental general anesthesia (GA). Methods: Twenty-six in-depth interviews were conducted with parents of children younger than 6 years of age who had dental treatment under GA. The interviews were scheduled at various time periods following the surgery. Compared were the responses of: (1) “relapse” families, whose child had new cavities at the 6-month recall; and (2) “no relapse” families, who were caries-free at recall. A grounded theory approach to data analysis was used. Results: “Relapse” parents: (1) valued baby teeth differently; (2) perceived their child to be less susceptible to new cavities; and (3) expressed lower self-efficacy for controlling their child's oral health compared to “no relapse” parents. They also appeared to be: (1) in earlier stages of change; (2) less receptive to advice from others, including professionals; and (3) more permissive regarding their child's desires. “Relapse” parents did not seem to have any immediate plans to change their “home-care” behaviors. Conclusion: GA did not appear to affect long-term preventive behaviors for all parents. Readiness to change seemed to be an important predictor of whether parents adopted and maintained preventive behaviors to improve their child's oral health.
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Keywords: DENTAL CARIES; HEALTH BEHAVIOR; PARENTING; PREVENTION AND CONTROL; QUALITATIVE RESEARCH

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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