Background: This study explored which factors affected patients' decisions to pursue either surgical or non-surgical periodontal treatment.
Methods: Data were collected from 74 patients at a regularly scheduled periodontal appointment, at which each patient was told that periodontal treatment was needed, and 2 weeks following the actual treatment. The surveys assessed the patients' decisions and potential determinants of these decisions. The dental anxiety scale-revised, the state-trait anxiety inventory, and the Iowa dental control index were used to measure psychosocial factors.
Results: Patients who decided to have surgery did not differ from patients who decided against surgery in sociodemographic variables such as gender, age, education, and socioeconomic status, nor in their desire for control over the treatment decision. However, they had less dental fear and less general anxiety than the non-surgery patients. Although the two patient groups did not differ in their responses concerning how well the dentists had informed them about the procedure, they differed in the degree of trust and rapport with their dentists.
Conclusions: The less dentally fearful and anxious patients were in general and the more they trusted their provider and felt they had good rapport, the more likely they were to accept surgical periodontal treatment. These results stress the importance of good patient-provider communication.