Being considerate every step of the way: a qualitative study analysing trauma‐sensitive dental treatment for childhood sexual abuse survivors
European Journal of Oral Sciences
This qualitative study aimed to obtain a deeper understanding of what makes adult dentistry possible for child sexual abuse survivors. Sixteen adult informants were recruited from four Centres against Sexual Abuse and interviewed. Qualitative analysis of the transcribed interviews was conducted consecutively until thematic saturation was reached at 16 informants. A conceptual framework was generated, and informants' experiences of what makes dental treatment achievable were summed as the
... ummed as the dentist working in a trauma-sensitive way, captured by the core category: Being considerate every step of the way. The underlying categories are: (i) offering a good start; (ii) being competent; (iii) being aware of the influence of staff behaviour; (iv) building a safe relationship; (v) arranging a secure treatment situation; and (vi) exploring individual triggers. The findings revealed that dental staff should have adequate competence to build secure relationships and explore individual triggers in dental treatment situations when treating child sexual abuse survivors. Dentists should have a trauma-sensitive approach to all patients. When treating child sexual abuse survivors, dentists should demonstrate utmost consideration every step of the way, building long-term solid relationships, and discussing and testing coping strategies individually adapted to the specific needs of the child sexual abuse survivors, in a safe environment.