Periodontal treatment in private dental practice: a case-based survey

I Darby, S-Y Barrow, B Cvetkovic, R Musolino, S Wise, C Yung, D Bailey
Australian Dental Journal 2017, 62 (4): 471-477

BACKGROUND: This study aimed to assess the management and referral patterns of Victorian general dental practitioners based on periodontal diagnosis.

METHODS: Following ethics approval, Victorian general dental practitioners were invited to complete five randomized text-based periodontitis scenario questionnaires. Based on their diagnosis, respondents were asked for their management options and asked to specify who would perform these treatments. Respondents were also asked about referral procedures.

RESULTS: One hundred and thirty-five dentists attempted the survey. Most were in group practice and based in Melbourne. Of the total respondents, 22.5% worked in a practice employing a hygienist. The management of periodontal disease was appropriate, and treatment options increased with severity. As severity increased, patients were more likely to be referred to a periodontist. Periodontal services referred by general dentists to dental hygienists increased with the number of days the hygienists worked within a practice. Over- and underdiagnosis did not markedly affect management. The recommendation of antibiotics, mouthwashes and periodontal surgery varied depending on year and school of graduation.

CONCLUSIONS: The general dentists that completed the survey are managing periodontal conditions appropriately and according to current guidelines.

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