Practices and opinions of Connecticut general dentists regarding dental treatment during pregnancy

Patricia M Pina, Joanna Douglass
General Dentistry 2011, 59 (1): e25-31
This study aimed to evaluate the opinions and practices of general dentists in Connecticut regarding dental care during pregnancy. A survey was mailed to Connecticut general dentists to acquire data regarding age, gender, training, type of practice, years in practice, payment types accepted, procedures provided for pregnant women according to trimester, provider comfort level with treating pregnant patients, reasons for not treating pregnant patients, and provider opinions about dental care during pregnancy. The response rate was 42%, yielding a sample of 116 dentists. The majority of respondents (97%) reported treating pregnant patients; however, only 45% felt "very comfortable" treating these patients. All dentists in the sample agreed that physicians need to include an oral health evaluation and appropriate referral for patients' prenatal care. However, 70% of respondents had never received a dental referral for a pregnant patient. The majority of dentists favored providing dental treatment during the second trimester of pregnancy. Most dentists (77%) would take a radiograph for a patient 10 weeks into the pregnancy seeking treatment for dental pain, but only 2% would take routine radiographs regardless of the pregnancy trimester. There was a lack of consensus about medications dentists reported acceptable to prescribe for pregnant patients, and female dentists were significantly less likely than males to prescribe ibuprofen (P < 0.05). At least half of the respondents reported not being completely comfortable treating pregnant patients. Further, many dentists appear to not follow medication prescribing guidelines for this population. While additional research is needed, these initial results indicate that additional education regarding the treatment of pregnant patients would be a beneficial addition to dental school and continued education course curricula.

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