A aprendizagem e serviço como contributo para a educação integral
: Projeto Sorrisos Especiais

  • Maria Beatriz Rocha Amaral Lima Rodrigues (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Introduction: Patients with disabilities have a high risk and prevalence of diseases in the oral cavity, facing numerous barriers in access to dental care. Taking this premise into account, the "Sorrisos Especiais" project arose, in which through the Service-Learning methodology students provide a service to the community, while putting into practice all the knowledge acquired throughout the course. Objectives: To evaluate and quantify the types of medical-dental treatments performed on patients with disabilities; to determine the influence of this ApS experience on students' attitudes towards people with disabilities and to evaluate the impact of this project from the perspective of formal caregivers.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive observational study was carried out. A questionnaire was applied to the students and another to the caregivers, and a survey of the medical and dental treatments performed was also carried out. The collected data were statistically treated using the SPSS software version 25.0. Results: A total of 111 clinical diagnoses, 132 scale removals, 129 fillings, 120 extractions, 25 prosthetic treatments, 24 endodontics, 16 fluoride applications, and 6 sealant applications were performed, for a total of 563 dental treatments. The change in students' attitudes toward people with disabilities was positive, although not significant and without statistical significance. The caregivers were very or totally satisfied with the project, highlighting as positive points the motivation, kindness, care in technical explanation, resilience, continuous follow-up and free consultations. As aspects to be improved, they emphasized the need to increase training in blind patients, schedules, and computerized registration of clinical information.
Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of medical-dental needs in patients with disabilities. The ApS was a fundamental pedagogical innovation tool in the students' technical and social training, while contributing to the oral health and quality of life of such a vulnerable population.
Date of Award21 Jul 2022
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorPatrícia Couto (Supervisor), Maria José Correia (Co-Supervisor) & Nélio Jorge Veiga (Co-Supervisor)


  • Patients with disabilities
  • Service-learning
  • Sorrisos Especiais Project
  • Caregivers


  • Mestrado em Medicina Dentária

Cite this