Purpose: Dentist-patient verbal communication dimensions on patient satisfaction were investigated in a prosthodontic context, controlling for the age and gender of patients and dentists and the amount of delivered prosthodontic treatment. Two concepts of satisfaction were defined, one for the single visit (satisfaction with care), and one for the overall result (satisfaction with treatment outcome).
Materials and methods: Audio recordings of 61 patients meeting 15 dentists were made in three specialist clinics of prosthetic dentistry. The prosthodontic treatment periods with fixed tooth- or implant-supported prostheses, on average 20 months, were monitored by questionnaires. One visit near the end of each treatment period was audio recorded. The recorded verbal communication was analyzed with the Roter Interaction Analysis System-Dental.
Results: Bivariate analysis showed that patients of female dentists were more satisfied in the long-term perspective than patients of male dentists. In logistic multivariate regression models, the verbal communication dimensions "information-dentist horizon" and "information-patient horizon," together with the mouth involvement of the prosthodontics, influenced patient satisfaction with treatment outcome.
Conclusion: Patients undergoing extensive prosthodontic rehabilitation should be given the opportunity to ask and talk about their dental health, and dentists should minimize their question-asking and orientating behavior during the encounters to help improve patient satisfaction with treatment outcome.