Endodontic performance by Flemish dentists: have they evolved?

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Abstract

Aim

To gather information on aspects of endodontic practice and referral behaviour by Flemish (Dutch-speaking Belgian) dentists and to compare the results with an earlier investigation.

Methodology

A postal questionnaire was distributed to 4468 active Flemish dentists. It consisted of multiple-choice questions on endodontic practice and endodontic referral need. Basic information on age, gender, year of qualification and clinical specialty was also obtained. The questionnaire was free of charge to return. Data were imported in a database, subjected to descriptive and analytical statistics and compared to those of an earlier, comparable survey.

Results

The response rate was 18.5%. Of all respondents, 95% were general practitioners. More than half (56%) of the respondents never or seldom used rubber dam during endodontic treatment. The use of sodium hypochlorite as an irrigant was well established (80% of respondents using it), whereas the use of EDTA was limited. Female respondents were more likely to refer to an endodontist than male (70 versus 49%). Referrals for treatment of root canal obstruction (48%), perforations and root resorption (42%) and retreatment (39%) were rated ‘very important’. Younger respondents more frequently made use of magnification, rotary instruments and rubber dam. Activation of irrigants was incorporated by a small number of respondents (50% never, 12.6% seldom). Cold lateral condensation was used by most GDPs (35.3% always, 19.5% frequently).

Conclusions

Endodontic practice of general dentists in Flanders did not always comply with quality guidelines. However, when comparing the present data with those of a previous study, an obvious trend towards a more present-day treatment protocol is noticeable, as well as an increased appeal for endodontic referral.

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