Treatment planning for replacing missing teeth in UK general dental practice: current trends

P M Patel, Christopher D Lynch, A J Sloan, A S M Gilmour
Journal of Oral Rehabilitation 2010, 37 (7): 509-17
The aim of this study was to examine the confidence, barriers and attitudes towards the replacement of missing teeth by general dental practitioners (GDPs). The perceived impact of the recently introduced National Health Service (NHS) contract on the provision of prosthodontic treatments was also considered. Pre-piloted postal questionnaires were mailed to 500 GDPs in Wales. Open- and closed-ended questions were utilised to establish confidence, adequacy of training and attitudes towards treatments for replacing missing teeth. Two hundred and seventeen completed questionnaires were received (response rate = 43.4%). Many respondents described themselves as 'confident' or 'very confident' in the provision of removable partial dentures (RPDs) (acrylic = 100%, metal based = 99.5%), cantilever resin-bonded bridges (94.4%) and conventional bridgework (98.6%). GDPs were 'not confident' providing fixed-fixed resin-bonded bridges (21.1%) or implants (81.4%). Financial barriers were identified to the provision of prosthodontic treatments, including comments such as "the new [National Health Service] contract does limit the treatments available". Privately funded patients were more likely to be offered a fixed bridge or implant replacement of a missing upper first molar, whereas non-privately funded patients were more likely to be offered no treatment (P < 0.01). Most respondents reported confidence at providing more routine forms of prosthodontic care such as RPDs and bridges. It appears that funding arrangements may have an impact on treatments offered to replace missing teeth, particularly under the current NHS contract.

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