Assessment of Australian Dentists' Treatment Planning Decisions Based on Diagnosis

Sarah Bestall, Rani Flynn, Georgia Charleson, Paul V. Abbott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: An accurate diagnosis is required for the appropriate management of endodontic conditions. It is unknown whether the specific descriptive terminology used in diagnosis influences treatment decision making. The aim of this study was to determine whether treatment choices made by dentists are influenced by the diagnostic terminology used. Methods: One hundred ninety-four dentists in Australia were recruited through the Australian Dental Association to complete an online survey regarding 14 endodontic cases. Respondents selected treatment options based on a given diagnosis and radiograph. Data were analyzed using SPSS software (Version 26; IBM Corp, Armonk, NY) and the exact McNemar test to determine if there was a difference between treatment choices for matched diagnoses with different terminology. Results: More dentists chose to manage irreversible pulpitis operatively when the descriptive term chronic was used compared with asymptomatic (93.3% vs 59.8%, χ1 2 = 57.69, P < .005). This trend was repeated when using chronic or asymptomatic to describe apical periodontitis (96.9% vs 89.7%, exact P = .004) and apical abscesses (99.0% vs 83.5%, χ1 2 = 104.125, P < .005). The differences between acute and symptomatic were less dramatic but still presented significant differences in treatment choices for an apical abscess described as “primary acute” or “secondary acute” compared with “symptomatic” (82.0% and 96.4% vs 93.3%, P < .05). Conclusions: Descriptive terminology, specifically the terms acute and chronic as opposed to symptomatic and asymptomatic, used in the diagnosis of endodontic conditions did influence whether clinicians chose operative management or nonoperative management. Further research is warranted to determine the extent of this influence among dentists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-489
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Endodontics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment of Australian Dentists' Treatment Planning Decisions Based on Diagnosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this