Characteristics of dentists in the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network

J Dent. 2023 Oct:137:104653. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2023.104653. Epub 2023 Aug 11.


Objectives: Our aims are to describe the characteristics of dentists, members of the US National Dental practice-based research network (PBRN) in the United States, and determine how often these dentists provide specific dental procedures.

Methods: Dentists completed a questionnaire when they enrolled in the Network about their demographic and training characteristics and characteristics of their practices and patients. Dentists also reported the frequency of providing specific dental procedures. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results: Of 4,483 dentists in active clinical practice, 34% identified as females, 70% as white, and 73% as general dentists. Most dentists practiced in large metropolitan areas (87%) and in solo or small practices (72%). On average, they reported about one-half of their patients were children or older adults, a third were from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and one-quarter were covered by public insurance. Most dentists routinely performed restorations and fixed prosthetics (78%), extractions (59%), removable (44%) and implant (40%) prosthetics, and endodontics on incisor and premolar teeth (44%).

Conclusions: Dentists participating in the National Dental PBRN have much in common with dentists at large. The network has a broad representation of dentists, practice types, patient populations, and treatments offered, including diversity regarding race/ethnicity, gender, insurance, and geography of its practitioners and patients.

Clinical significance: Characteristics of National Dental PBRN dentists suggest that a broad range of dentists is interested in participating in national-level research studies, thereby enabling an array of clinical study settings and topics that can optimize the generalizability of study findings.

Keywords: Continuing dental education; Dentist; Dentistry; Evidence-based practice; Multi-center studies; Practice patterns; Practice-based research networks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Child
  • Dental Care*
  • Dental Research
  • Dentists*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists'
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States