Variation in caries treatment proposals among dentists in Norway: the best interest of the child
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEuropean Archives of Paediatric Dentistry. 2017, 18 (5), 345-353. 10.1007/s40368-017-0298-4
Aim To explore variation in treatment-related-decisions for severe caries in children among dentists in the Public Dental Service (PDS) in Norway. It was also to evaluate the treatment choices in relation to the best interest of children and a child’s rights to enjoy the highest standard of health care. Methods A pre-coded questionnaire was sent electronically to all general dental practitioners (GDPs) working in the PDS in eight counties in Norway (n = 611). The questionnaire included two case scenarios to reflect common dental conditions related to severe caries among 5-year-old children. Paediatric dentists and paediatric students were invited to validate the different treatment options. Frequency distributions and statistical analyses were carried out using Chi square statistics. Results The response rate was 65% (n = 391) among the GDPs. A majority of the GDPs preferred a new appointment with behaviour management techniques (BMT) to a child presenting pulpitis and pain. Dentists educated outside the Nordic region would use restraint more often as a treatment alternative when the child was in pain than Nordic-educated dentists (p < 0.05). Dentists with less than 10 years of experience preferred BMT and sedation more often when the child was in pain than their older colleagues, who, however, preferred a waiting approach and no immediate treatment if the child was not in pain (p < 0.05). Conclusions Use of BMT and sedation is related to region of education and years of experience. Awareness of ethical principles with the child´s best interest in mind, should receive increased attention.