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Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache



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J Orofac Pain 29 (2015), No. 3     20. Aug. 2015
J Orofac Pain 29 (2015), No. 3  (20.08.2015)

Page 223-230

Perceived Oral Health and Care of Children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: A Qualitative Study
Leksell, Eva / Hallberg, Ulrika / Magnusson, Bo / Ernberg, Malin / Hedenberg-Magnusson, Britt
Aims: To increase knowledge about how children diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) perceive their oral health and dental care.
Methods: Fifteen interviews with children diagnosed with JIA, aged 6 to 16 years, were analyzed according to classical grounded theory.
Results: The children's main concern about their oral health was identified as creating a positive identity after being diagnosed with JIA and learning to live with oral health problems. While attempting to cope with this concern, the children often endured in silence, the core category in the analysis. A variety of aspects were found of this core coping strategy, which were categorized as differentiating from the disease, working on personal caretaking and positive attitude, fighting fears and sadness, control of professional aid, and building supportive relationships. The results emphasize the importance for caregivers to show empathy and interest in the child as a person, to ask precise questions when taking case histories so the child does not remain silent, to provide psychosocial support and suggest positive coping strategies, to describe and administer treatments, and to give hope for the future.
Conclusion: Awareness of the social interaction between a child diagnosed with JIA and health professionals as well as awareness of how to approach a child with longstanding illness are crucial for disclosing and treating the child's orofacial symptoms.

Keywords: children, idiopathic arthritis, oral health, pain, qualitative