Referral Patterns of Pediatric Oral Surgery Cases: A Pilot Survey of United Arab Emirate Dentists
Madi, Heba Allah
Kowash, Mawlood B.
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Objective: To assess the referral patterns of General Dental Practitioners (GDPs) and Pediatric Dentists (PDs) when faced with a range of Pediatric-Oral Surgery (POS) cases. Material and Methods: Eighty-two dentists treating children [51.2% GDPs (n=42) and 48.8% PDs (n=40)] were shown clinical photographs or radiographs of twelve common POS cases. Opinions on whether to “manage it yourself”, “refer to a/another pediatric dentist”, “refer to an oral surgeon (OS)”, “refer to a multidisciplinary clinic (MDC)”, or “do nothing” were sought. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS software with Chi-square test (p≤0.05). Results: Both GDPs and PDs reported significantly higher referrals to OS of: 1) lower lip mucoceles (50%, 52.5% respectively), 2) exposure of impacted maxillary canine (64%, 51.3%) and 3) dento-alveolar trauma cases (73.8%, 65%). A majority of GDPs and PDs reported self-managing of: 1) removal of multiple deciduous carious teeth (81%, 97.5%), 2) odontogenic infections with facial swelling (57.1%, 92.5%), 3) removal of ankylosed submerged primary molars (66.7%, 95%) and 4) dental trauma (71.4%, 100%). PDs reported self-managing primary herpetic gingivostomatitis (PHGS, 95%) compared to 45.2% of GDPs. GDP referral of PHGS to the PDs was 42.9%. There were no significant differences between both groups regarding removal of a mesiodens, release of a tongue-tie, a labial frenectomy, or a lip laceration, but the majority would refer to oral surgeons in these cases. Conclusion: Whilst United Arab Emirates dentists sampled referred some pediatric-oral surgery cases to oral surgeons, general dental practitioners were reluctant to refer pediatric-oral surgery cases to pediatric dentists, preferring to self-manage them.