Factors Associated with Reevaluation of the Stepwise Excavation Procedure: An 8-Year Retrospective Study

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Although the stepwise excavation procedure (SWP) has been shown to be an effective caries treatment technique, studies reporting its application outside of controlled clinical trials are limited. We performed a retrospective study from patient record data to assess the proportion of patients who had an SWP reevaluated within 18 months at The University of Iowa College of Dentistry (UICOD) between 2004 and 2012, and evaluated the association between different variables and this outcome. A total of 1,985 SWPs were performed in 1,326 patients, with 518 patients having had reevaluation within 18 months. Bivariate analysis and logistic regression modeling revealed strong associations between explanatory variables such as provider type, tooth type, patient age, number of recalls and the calendar year in which the SWP was done and reevaluation status. There was also evidence of association with dental insurance status. Other characteristics such as gender, distance traveled to the UICOD, number of surfaces treated and tooth arch did not show any significant association. In general, patients were more likely to have reevaluation when seen by faculty members or residents, the procedure was performed in molars/pre-molars, they were older, they had more recalls and were seen earlier in the study period. These results suggest that decisions to use SWP should consider patient demographics and treatment characteristics such as provider level, tooth type, patient age and number of recalls. The impact of treatment year may reflect program heterogeneity or temporal changes in external societal factors.

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