Pediatric and General Dentists’ Behaviors and Attitudes Towards Adolescent Oral Health Care Issues

2013-10-24T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Amanda E. Day
Both pediatric and general dentists are responsible for treating adolescent patients. Over the last decade, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has developed guidelines to address issues unique to adolescence. Limited research has been done in regards to pediatric and general dentists’ behaviors and attitudes towards adolescent oral health care issues. In this study fourteen topics of adolescent oral health care were explored. Issues requiring more tact, care, and caution during treatment were considered “more sensitive” issues. “More sensitive” issues included: tobacco use, alcohol and drug abuse, oral cancer, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, oral piercings, and eating disorders. “Less sensitive” issues included: oral hygiene, dental caries, nutritional habits, dental sealants, orthodontic treatment, mouthguards, and teeth whitening. This study gathered information on pediatric and general dentists screening practices for these topics as well as comfort levels and views on relevance to practice. A questionnaire was sent to pediatric dentists and general dentists practicing in the state of Illinois. Overall, pediatric dentists address more issues of adolescent oral health care than general dentists, especially the “less sensitive” topics of adolescent oral health care. Both pediatric and general dentists address the “more sensitive” topics of adolescent oral health care much less often than the “less sensitive” topics. For the “less sensitive” topics, the dentist’s view on relevance to practice was more predictive for increased screening levels. For the more sensitive topics, the dentist’s comfort level was more predictive for increased screening levels.