Objectives were to: (1) determine whether and how often general dentists (GDs) provide specific dental procedures; and (2) test the hypothesis that provision is associated with key dentist, practice, and patient characteristics.
GDs (n = 2,367) in the United States National Dental Practice-Based Research Network completed an Enrollment Questionnaire that included: (1) dentist; (2) practice; and (3) patient characteristics, and how commonly they provide each of 10 dental procedures. We determined how commonly procedures were provided and tested the hypothesis that provision was substantively related to the three sets of characteristics.
Two procedure categories were classified as “uncommon” (orthodontics, periodontal surgery), three were “common” (molar endodontics; implants; non-surgical periodontics), and five were “very common” (restorative; esthetic procedures; extractions; removable prosthetics; non-molar endodontics). Dentist, practice, and patient characteristics were substantively related to procedure provision; several characteristics seemed to have pervasive effects, such as dentist gender, training after dental school, full-time/part-time status, private practice vs. institutional practice, presence of a specialist in the same practice, and insurance status of patients.
As a group, GDs provide a comprehensive range of procedures. However, provision by individual dentists is substantively related to certain dentist, practice, and patient characteristics. A large number and broad range of factors seem to influence which procedures GDs provide. This may have implications for how GDs respond to the ever-changing landscape of dental care utilization, patient population demography, scope of practice, delivery models and GDs’ evolving role in primary care.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6831-15-11) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.