Title: The case report in 21st century child dental literature
Abstract: Aim To review recent dental child case reports to determine: 1) the main focus of the paper; 2) perceived contribution to the dental literature and, 3) involvement of the child. Study Design Systematic review. Methods Case reports published between 2000 and 2005 were identified using Medline via Ovid and Embase databases. Papers were reviewed to determine: their perceived value; whether they related to a single case or case series; the main dental condition; how the child was referred to, and inclusion of any child-centred input within the report. Results and statistics 663 case reports, from 82 journal titles, were subject to review. The majority presented a single patient (82%) and discussed a type of intervention or treatment (58%). The most common themes related to oral pathology/medicine (28%), and orthodontics (26%). Most children were referred to as ‘patients’ (74%) with little use of personalised terms (4%). Few reports included any child-centred input or contribution from a proxy (10% and 2% respectively). Inter- and intra-examiner repeatability for categorisation was excellent. Conclusions The majority of child-related reports described a treatment or intervention which is surprising given the low level of case reports in the hierarchy of evidence. The child’s perspective in the presenting complaint or outcome needs greater consideration.