Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe how dentists evaluated various items related to a treatment choice between fixed partial dentures (FPD) and removable partial dentures (RPD), and to determine if the differences could be explained by dentist-related variables ("social and demographic attributes," "job situation," and "attitudes").
Materials and methods: Questionnaires were sent to a random sample of 2,059 Swedish general dentists, with a response rate of 76%. In the questionnaire, the choice between FPDs and RPDs in a clinical situation was presented. The dentists were asked to mark on 14-item visual analogue scales the relative importance he or she gave the different items. The items were analyzed through principal components analysis, where a 3-factor solution was obtained; the factors were labeled as "time," "health," and "comfort." The factors were run as dependent variables in multiple regression analyses.
Results: Great individual variations were seen, but the differences between groups of dentists were small. The items evaluated as most important were "patient's wish," "condition of possible abutment teeth," and "prognosis for delivered treatment." Male dentists gave significantly greater importance to the "health" factor compared to female dentists. The attitudinal variable "patient information" showed significant associations with all 3 factors in the multivariate models.
Conclusion: Great individual differences were seen regarding the importance of the various items. In multiple regression models, several independent variables showed significant associations, most interestingly the attitudinal variable "patient information." Low explanatory (R2) values indicate that it is necessary to capture more variables of importance for the prosthodontic decision-making process.