European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 223–230 | Cite as

Perceived oral discomfort and pain in children and adolescents with intellectual or physical disabilities as reported by their legal guardians

  • L. KrekmanovaEmail author
  • M. Hakeberg
  • A. Robertson
  • G. Braathen
  • G. Klingberg
Original Scientific Article



This was, firstly, to study the occurrence of oral pain and discomfort, using the Dental Discomfort Questionnaire (DDQ), in children and adolescents with intellectual or physical disabilities, compared with controls. Secondly, was to analyse the relationship between pain and discomfort, as measured by the DDQ, and dental health, as well as oral hygiene habits and dietary habits.


The study included 135 children and adolescents (12–18 years), registered at the Child and Adolescent Habilitation Unit in Göteborg and Södra Bohuslän, Sweden, and 135 gender- and age-matched controls. The children’s legal guardians completed a questionnaire comprising the DDQ and questions on oral hygiene and dietary habits. Data on dental health were retrieved from dental records.


The DDQ total mean score was higher for the study group, compared with the control group, 3.2 (SD 2.9) vs. 1.6 (SD 2.0), respectively (p = 0.001). Furthermore, children and adolescents with a severe intellectual disability had higher total mean DDQ scores than children with a mild intellectual disability, 4.8 (SD 4.2) vs. 2.4 (SD 2.9), respectively (p = 0.034), and also higher than children with a physical disability, 2.2 (SD 2.1) (p = 0.012). There were no differences in DMFT between children with disabilities and age-matched controls. There was no relationship between the DDQ scores and oral hygiene/dietary habits in children with disabilities.


Children and adolescents with intellectual or physical disabilities experienced oral discomfort and pain more often than matched controls. Dental health expressed as DMFT could not be related to the DDQ responses.


Disability Children Adolescents Oral Pain Discomfort 



The study was supported by grants from the Region of Western Götaland, Sweden, and from the Swedish Paediatric Society.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Thus, informed consent was duly used.


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Copyright information

© European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Krekmanova
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Hakeberg
    • 2
  • A. Robertson
    • 1
  • G. Braathen
    • 5
  • G. Klingberg
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Paediatric DentistryInstitute of Odontology at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Behavioural and Community DentistryInstitute of Odontology at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  3. 3.Mun-H-CenterNational Orofacial Resource Centre for Rare DisordersGothenburgSweden
  4. 4.Department of Paediatric Dentistry, Faculty of OdontologyMalmö UniversityMalmöSweden
  5. 5.Department of Child and Adolescent HabilitationUnit Göteborg and Södra BohuslänGothenburgSweden

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