Remembering and repeating childhood dental treatment experiences: parents, their children, and barriers to dental care

Patricia Anne Smith, Ruth Freeman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)



    Despite improvements over the past two decades, caries and its treatment remain a problem for Scottish children.


    To investigate how the reported childhood dental care experiences of a group of Scottish parents impacted upon the dental treatment they accessed for their children.

    Study design.

    In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 parents of varied age and social background whose children were referred to Dundee Dental Hospital for the assessment of dental extractions. Parents were encouraged to discuss their own and their child's experiences of dental care. The interview data were systematically coded using key theme headings, and summary charts constructed to facilitate the analysis.


    A sense of 'uneasiness' pervaded the parents' comments and perceptions of the dental care provided for their children. This was conceptualized as parents 'remembering in words' and 'repeating through actions' their own childhood dental experiences. They remembered and repeated their childhood experiences by delaying dental treatment for themselves and their children.


    Acknowledging the influence of parental dental experience would help ensure that parents of young children access routine care for their children and themselves.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)50-58
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Paediatric Dentistry
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


    • CARIES

    Cite this