Kavita Mathu-Muju

Associate Professor

Relevant Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision (2010-2017)
Review of pediatric dentistry oral sedation outcomes and influences (2017)

Objectives: The UBC Graduate Pediatric Dentistry Program’s oral sedation clinic has evolved since it began in 2011. The study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the various sedation regimens used, and to assess how regimens were influenced by the experience and opinions of clinical instructors.Methods: A retrospective chart review of all oral sedation appointments that took place between March 2011 and May 2014 was completed. The outcome variables of interest were effectiveness and safety. Descriptive and comparative statistics were applied to analyze quantitative data. Six UBC Pediatric Dentistry clinical instructors were invited for interviews through a purposive sampling technique to further understand both their views toward sedation regimens and teaching sedation to graduate students. Thematic analysis was applied to code interview transcripts. Results: There were 195 oral sedation appointments during the study period. The three most commonly used regimens were: midazolam and hydroxyzine (MZH) (45%); midazolam (MZ) (24%); and meperidine, chloral hydrate, hydroxyzine, and dimenhydrinate (MCHHD) (17%). With respect to safety, vital signs and level of sedation were examined. Children undergoing MZH sedations were rated to be in “deep” sedation 1.4% of the time, compared to 12.5% in the MCHHD group. MZH sedations were rated “effective/very effective” 90% of the time, compared with 88% for MCHHD sedations. Data for sedation level and effectiveness of the MZ group was limited. Domains that emerged from the interviews were safety, effectiveness, preparation, and preferences; with risk tolerance as the overarching theme. Conclusion: MZH and MCHHD have similar effectiveness however MZH has a better safety profile. Clinicians with higher risk tolerance tended to practice sedation more frequently than those with low risk tolerance. Accordingly, high risk tolerance clinicians felt students should learn sedation more extensively than did those with low risk tolerance. Two main recommendations emerged from the study: (1) complete and inclusive sedation records are critical to fully understanding the effectiveness and safety of sedation regimens; 2) clinicians may desire to have self-awareness regarding their risk tolerances in the context of both practicing and teaching oral sedation in pediatric dentistry.

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Professional uncertainty in providing dental care for children with special health care needs among general dentists in British Columbia (2015)

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether scientific (knowledge base), practical (clinical infra-structure) or personal (sense of social justice) sources of uncertainty among British Columbia general dentists posed the greatest barriers to their ability to treat children with special health care needs (CSHCN). Methods: A 74-item self-administered electronic questionnaire was distributed to a random sample of 1200 general dentists registered with the British Columbia Dental Association. Variability in clinical practice (examine, examine and refer, refer) was assessed using three case scenarios featuring CSHCN with a 1) behavioral difficulty (autism spectrum disorder), 2) physical disability (bleeding disorder) or 3) combination (cerebral palsy). Respondents were asked to use a five-point Likert-type scale to rate uncertainty levels from scientific, practical and personal sources in each case scenario. One-sample t-tests were used to compare differences between examination/refer for examination and treat/refer for treatment group pairs. All items in the scientific, practical and personal domains were tested using multivariate analyses (logistic regression) for all three cases. Data was analyzed and classified based on a novel taxonomical approach.Results: The response rate was 20.2% (n=226). A higher percentage of dentists were willing to examine and treat a child with a bleeding disorder (59.7%) or cerebral palsy (63.0%) compared to a child with autism (54.5%). Among those who would refer, the most significant reported sources of uncertainty in general are scientific (knowledge of management, ability to diagnose disease) and practical sources (staff training, inadequate facilities, busy practice).Conclusions: While the majority of general dentists showed interest and desire to provide care for CSHCN, scientific and practical uncertainty are significant factors affecting their ability to provide care. Recognizing the presence of uncertainty in dental care can inform policy changes to help dentists either decrease reducible uncertainties or cope with those that are irreducible. Implementation of increased undergraduate curriculum hours and hands on experience with CSHCN as well as expanded coverage of public and private dental benefits may help reduce barriers to care for CSHCN, in particular for those with conditions such as autism spectrum disorder.

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News Releases

This list shows a selection of news releases by UBC Media Relations over the last 5 years.

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