Comparing the risk identification and management behaviors between oral health providers for patients with diabetes

Mitzi G Efurd, Kimberly Krust Bray, Tanya Villalpando Mitchell, Karen Williams
Journal of Dental Hygiene: JDH 2012, 86 (2): 130-40

PURPOSE: Evidence supporting the link between periodontal disease and systemic disease continues to grow. To date, little is known about how dental professionals incorporate this information into managing diabetic patients. This study examines the risk identification and practice behaviors regarding diabetic patients among dentists, hygienists and specialists.

METHODS: Responses were received from 383 currently practicing oral health professionals in Arkansas. The electronic survey consisted of 35 open and closed-ended or Likert-type items. Principal components factor analysis using varimax rotation was used to explore underlying dimensions of the questionnaire in order to provide a more parsimonious view of the outcomes. Logistic models were fitted to determine best practice outcome as a function of knowledge and professional and social norms.

RESULTS: Neither knowledge about diabetes (p<0.285) nor provider type (p<0.186) was a predictor of practice behavior. Professional and social norms (p<0.001) identified those practitioners who felt modifying their management strategies for their patients with diabetes was a necessary component of their practice behavior.

CONCLUSION: In general, risk assessment was lacking, irrespective of whether a clinician was a dentist or dental hygienist. Results indicate oral health professionals in Arkansas need to improve the treatment and management of patients with diabetes and periodontal disease.


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