Background: An accurate diagnosis is the foundation for determining prognosis and appropriate management. This study adds to pre-existing (albeit limited) evidence by exploring the use of diagnostic techniques amongst dental practitioners. The main aim of the study was to identify the availability, usage and clinician preference for specific diagnostic tests. A secondary aim was to investigate the use of diagnostic tests for common clinical scenarios. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was distributed online to dental practitioners registered with the Australian Dental Association. Quantitative data on clinician demography, and the availability and preference of diagnostic tests was summarized with Stata 13 software. Pearson’s chi-squared test was used to determine associations. Results: General dental practitioners (GDP) and specialists comprised 86% and 14% of the 433 respondents, respectively. Unlike light transillumination, most GDP had radiography, biting tests and pulp sensibility tests available. The electric pulp test and ethyl chloride were first choices of most practitioners despite markedly lower availability relative to cold spray. Symptoms and endodontic assessments generally attracted wider usage of pulp testing. Conclusions: More dental practitioners should utilize diagnostic testing in order to arrive at accurate diagnoses. The availability of diagnostic tests did not completely translate to usage and none of the scenarios presented warranted pulp sensibility testing from all respondents.
Tan, A., Bennett, G., Tan, J., & Abbott, P. (2017). Diagnostic procedures employed by dental practitioners in Australia with a focus on endodontic diagnostic procedures. Australian Dental Journal, 62(3), 337-344. https://doi.org/10.1111/adj.12511