An investigation of dento-alveolar trauma and its treatment in an adolescent population. Part 2: Dentists' knowledge of management methods and their perceptions of barriers to providing care

F A Hamilton, F J Hill, P J Holloway
British Dental Journal 1997 February 22, 182 (4): 129-33

AIM: To assess dentists' knowledge of and perceived barriers to treatment of dental injuries.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional postal questionnaire and personal interview.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Questionnaires from 153 GDPs and 53 CDOs were received giving details of emergency options on 17 imaginary dental injuries and perceived barriers to treatment of trauma. Structured interviews with 21 of the GDPs and 19 CDOs seeking knowledge on diagnosis and long-term follow-up and treatment took place. Age and gender of dentist, type of practice and postgraduate courses attended were noted.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Mean knowledge scores.

RESULTS: Of a maximum of 14 correct responses on emergency treatment of injured teeth the mean was 7.5. Only 19% knew for how long avulsed teeth should be splinted. Of a maximum of 37 correct responses on long-term follow-up of treatment the mean was 15.4. Only 10% would correctly treat acute abscess on a traumatised tooth. 82% of dentists thought dental trauma should be treated in the primary care service, but 86% of GDPs thought fees for this type of treatment were too low. 72% of CDOs thought the treatment occupied too much clinic time and was not the responsibility of the CDS.

CONCLUSIONS: Dentists in the primary care sector have insufficient knowledge to treat dental trauma.

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