Dental Emergency Practice Characteristics Among North Carolina Pediatric and General Dentists.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to assess after-hours practice characteristics of pediatric dentists (PDs) and general dentists (GDs) and determine how patients-of-record obtain after-hours emergency dental care. METHODS: A 29-item survey was electronically distributed to PDs and GDs in North Carolina in September 2014. Demographics and after-hours emergency practice characteristics were assessed. Survey respondents were subsequently called after-hours to validate reported after-hours emergency protocol. Descriptive and bivariate statistics compared responses from PDs and GDs. Concordance between survey and telephone responses was analyzed. RESULTS: Eighty-six (46 percent) PDs and 1,199 (36 percent) GDs completed the survey; 86 (100 percent) and 1,015 (85 percent) met inclusion criteria, respectively. Most dentists allowed patients to reach them via pager/cell phone after-hours (82.1 percent of PDs, 72.8 percent of GDs; P=0.04). More PDs than GDs had established after-hours emergency protocols (95.3 percent versus 56.7 percent, P<0.001), practiced in a group (71.1 percent versus 40.9 percent, P<0.001), and shared call (64.0 percent versus 30.1 percent, P<0.001). Telephone and survey responses significantly differed for GDs (P<0.001) but not PDs (P=0.14). CONCLUSIONS: After-hours emergency care is an important component of a comprehensive dental home. More pediatric dentists than general dentists provided after-hours emergency dental care. Survey and telephone responses were more consistent and favorable for PDs than GDs. This highlights gaps in emergency dental practice and breakdown of the dental home.
Brecher, EA; Keels, MA; Quiñonez, RB; Roberts, MW; Bordley, WC
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