Factors influencing the diagnosis and management of periodontal disease by general dental practitioners

I G Chestnutt, D F Kinane
British Dental Journal 1997 November 8, 183 (9): 319-24

OBJECTIVE: To identify factors influencing the diagnosis and management of periodontal disease by general dental practitioners.

DESIGN: The study was conducted in two stages. 1. Analysis of returns to the Scottish Dental Practice Board. 2. Data collection via a postal questionnaire distributed to 500 general dental practitioners (27% of Scottish practitioners).

RESULTS: 374 (75%) questionnaires were completed and returned. Analysis revealed the majority of treatment provided was in the form of simple scale and polishes, with multi-visit periodontal therapy comprising less than 0.2% of all non-surgical periodontal treatment. While the majority of respondents were confident in their ability to diagnose periodontal disease, only 40% were confident in treating it. Patient related factors were seen as the major hindrance to disease management, although time factors and the low level of fees were viewed by at least one half of respondents as major constraints.

CONCLUSIONS: Greater efforts are required to motivate and inform patients of the necessity for and benefits of periodontal treatment, as is emphasis on appropriate treatment of early to moderate forms of disease. There is also a need for the development of appropriate, evidence-based clinical guidelines and fiscal arrangements to facilitate such provision.

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