BACKGROUND: Dental professionals are required to report suspicions of child maltreatment to the social services. As yet, no studies assess the prevalence of these mandated reports from dental care services or their content.
AIM: This study investigates the prevalence and characteristics of mandated reports from dental professionals to the social services. Furthermore, it analyses associations between dental professionals reporting suspicions of maltreatment with such reports from other sources.
DESIGN: The study collected dental mandatory reports from within one municipality of Sweden during 2008-2014. The material consisted of a total of 147 reports by dental professionals regarding 111 children.
RESULTS: The total prevalence of reports from dental care services to the social services was 1.5 per 1000 children with a significant increase between 2008 and 2011 (P < 0.001). The primary cause for a report concerned parental deficiencies in care (n = 93) and secondly, a concern for dental neglect (n = 52) (P < 0.001). Among all reports, 86% involved children with prior contacts with the social services.
CONCLUSION: Reports to the social services from dental care services on suspicions of child maltreatment concern parental deficiencies (failure to attend appointments) and neglect (dental neglect). Mandated reports from dental care services often co-occur with other mandated reports.