Knowledge of and Attitudes towards Preventive Dental Care among Iranian Dentists

Eur J Dent. 2007 Oct;1(4):222-9.

Abstract

Objectives: To assess Iranian dentists' knowledge of and attitudes towards preventive dental care.

Methods: A questionnaire survey was conducted at two nationwide annual dental congresses in 2004 and 2005 in Tehran, Iran. Dentists' level of knowledge was assessed based on their responses on a Likert scale (0-4) to nine statements on preventive dental care. Higher scores indicated more accurate knowledge. Dentists' attitudes towards preventive dental care were rated based on responses on a Likert scale (1-7) to nine pairs of bipolar adjectives. The respondents were to choose the response which best described their opinion. Higher scores indicated more positive attitudes. Of 1033 responding dentists, 980 (64% men) were deemed eligible for this study. Statistical evaluation was by t-test and the Chi-square test.

Results: Highest ratings were obtained for knowledge of the role of sugar consumption (Mean+/-SD: 3.73+/-0.60), sealants (3.58+/-0.68), and water fluoridation (3.35+/-0.81) in caries prevention; the lowest for their knowledge of the superiority of the use of fluoride toothpaste over technique of brushing (1.11+/-1.09). Dentists' attitudes towards preventive dental care appeared most positive regarding its usefulness (Useful - Useless; 6.67+/-0.94), value (Valuable - Worthless; 6.59+/-0.98) to the community and for its status as a scientific (Scientific - Unscientific; 6.47+/-1.06) subject. Overall, female dentists had more favourable attitudes towards preventive dental care than male colleagues.

Conclusions: Preventive dentistry should be emphasised in dental education in order to update dentists' knowledge and attitudes regarding preventive dental care.

Keywords: Dental Education; Dental care; Iranian Dentists; Preventive dentistry.