Implementation of an adolescent risk behaviour assessment in an academic paediatric dental setting

Edna Perez, Leda Mugayar, Sukhi Kaur Guram, Jas Guram


Adolescents commonly engage in negative risk behaviours which could have serious implications on their oral and systemic health. Health care providers must be able to identify signs and comfortably question adolescents regarding these risk behaviours

Allow dental providers to administer a risk behavior questionnaire addressed towards adolescents to begin the transition from the pediatric to adult model and assist them in taking personal responsibility for their health. When negative behaviors are recognized, the goal is to help the adolescent by providing them with educational information, such as brochures or other resources related to the identified risks, and offering referrals to relevant providers.

A medical questionnaire to assess adolescent’s risk behaviors has been implemented at the University of Florida Pediatric Dental Clinic and is administered to patients 13+ as part of each examination appointment. A policy of confidentiality is discussed with the parent and informed consent obtained prior to conducting this questionnaire individually with the patient.
During a period of over a year, the questionnaire has been administered by the pediatric dental faculty for a trial period; administration by the pediatric dental residents began this term and is currently ongoing.

Completion of the risk behavior questionnaire has provided an opportunity for teenagers to become more comfortable speaking individually with a dental provider. Identification of these risks allowed the pediatric dentist to help the patient seek appropriate care as they enter adulthood, and provide a more thorough approach towards the adolescent’s oral and general health.
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