Association between early childhood oral health impact scale (ECOHIS) scores and pediatric dental surgery wait times

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Lee, Victor H K
Grant, Cameron G
Mittermuller, Betty-Anne
Singh, Sarbjeet
Weiss, Brenda
Edwards, Jeanette M
Schroth, Robert J
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Abstract Background Severe Early Childhood Caries (S-ECC) is an aggressive form of tooth decay that often requires pediatric dental rehabilitative surgery. The Early Childhood Oral Health Impact Scale (ECOHIS) measures oral health-related quality of life (OHRQL). The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is an association between ECOHIS scores and surgery wait times for children undergoing dental treatment for S-ECC under general anesthesia (GA). Methods The hypothesis was that there is no present association between wait times and ECOHIS score. Children under 72 months of age with S-ECC were recruited on the day of their slated dental surgery under GA. Parents/caregivers completed a questionnaire that included the ECOHIS. Data were merged with other ECOHIS scores from a previous study. Wait times were acquired from the Patient Access Registry Tool (PART) database. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses. A p-value of ≤0.05 was considered statistically significant; 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were reported for each correlation coefficient. This study was approved by the University of Manitoba’s Health Research Ethics Board. Results Overall, 200 children participated, the majority of whom were Indigenous (63%) and resided in Winnipeg (52.5%). The mean age was 47.6 ± 13.8 months and 50.5% were female. Analyses showed ECOHIS scores were not significantly correlated with children’s wait times. Observed correlations between ECOHIS and children’s wait times were low and not statistically significant, ranging from ρ = 0.11 for wait times and child impact section (CIS) scores (95% CI: − 0.04, 0.26; p = 0.14), ρ = − 0.08 for family impact section (FIS) scores (95% CI: − 0.23, 0.07; p = 0.28), and ρ = 0.04 for total ECOHIS scores (95% CI: − 0.11, 0.19; p = 0.56). Conclusion No significant associations were observed between ECOHIS scores and wait times. In fact, those with worse OHRQL appeared to wait longer for surgery. ECOHIS scores could, however, still be used to help prioritize children for dental surgery to ensure that they receive timely access to dental care under GA. This is essential given the challenges posed by COVID-19 on timely access to surgical care.
BMC Oral Health. 2020 Oct 17;20(1):285