Introduction: To effectively engage patients in clinical decisions regarding the management of teeth with apical periodontitis (AP), there is a need to explore patients' perspectives on the decision-making process. This study surveyed patients for their preferred level of participation in making treatment decisions for a tooth with AP.
Methods: Data were collected through a mail-out survey of 800 University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry patients, complemented by a convenience sample of 200 patients from 10 community practices. The Control Preferences Scale was used to evaluate the patients' preferences for active, collaborative, or passive participation in treatment decisions for a tooth with AP. Using bivariate and logistic regression analyses, the Gelberg-Andersen Behavioral Model for Vulnerable Populations was applied to the Control Preferences Scale questions to understand the influential factors (P ≤ .05).
Results: Among 434 of 1,000 respondents, 44%, 40%, and 16% preferred an active, collaborative, and passive participation, respectively. Logistic regression showed a significant association (P ≤ .025) between participants' higher education and preference for active participation compared with a collaborative role. Also, immigrant status was significantly associated with preference for passive participation (P = .025).
Conclusions: The majority of patients valued an active or collaborative participation in deciding treatment for a tooth with AP. This pattern implied a preference for a patient-centered practice mode that emphasizes patient autonomy in decision making.
Keywords: Apical periodontitis; dentist-patient relations; patient preference; personal autonomy; principle-based ethics; shared decision making.
Copyright © 2014 American Association of Endodontists. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.