Background: Dentists are in a unique position to advise smokers to quit by providing effective counseling on the various aspects of tobacco-induced diseases. The present study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of integrating dentists in a medical smoking cessation intervention.
Methods: Smokers willing to quit underwent an 8-week smoking cessation intervention combining individual-based counseling and nicotine replacement therapy and/or bupropion, provided by a general internist. In addition, a dentist performed a dental exam, followed by an oral hygiene treatment and gave information about chronic effects of smoking on oral health. Outcomes were acceptability, global satisfaction of the dentist's intervention, and smoking abstinence at 6-month.
Results: 39 adult smokers were included, and 27 (69%) completed the study. Global acceptability of the dental intervention was very high (94% yes, 6% mostly yes). Annoyances at the dental exam were described as acceptable by participants (61% yes, 23% mostly yes, 6%, mostly no, 10% no). Participants provided very positive qualitative comments about the dentist counseling, the oral exam, and the resulting motivational effect, emphasizing the feeling of oral cleanliness and health that encouraged smoking abstinence. At the end of the intervention (week 8), 17 (44%) participants reported smoking abstinence. After 6 months, 6 (15%, 95% CI 3.5 to 27.2) reported a confirmed continuous smoking abstinence.
Discussion: We explored a new multi-disciplinary approach to smoking cessation, which included medical and dental interventions. Despite the small sample size and non-controlled study design, the observed rate was similar to that found in standard medical care. In terms of acceptability and feasibility, our results support further investigations in this field.
Trial registration number: ISRCTN67470159.