To evaluate the treatment practices of Finnish general practitioners (GPs) and dental teachers (DTs) regarding periodontal treatment modalities, and their knowledge of possible contraindications for periodontal surgery.
A questionnaire on two periodontal cases was mailed to 400 GPs, selected by stratified randomization from the public and private sector, and to 47 DTs. The response rate was 77%. Respondents were asked to choose the optimal treatment for a patient with a bleeding, 8-mm-deep periodontal pocket and to consider the influence on their treatment decision of the six possible contraindications for periodontal surgery presented, two of which were absolute (inadequate oral hygiene and poorly controlled diabetes) and four of which were relative contraindications. The respondents' treatment decisions were compared with recommendations from textbooks and the Consensus Report from the 1996 World Workshop of Periodontology.
The majority of public (65%) and private (70%) dentists and almost all of the DTs chose treatment in agreement with recommendations. Correct answers from dentists were associated with a greater number of days in continuing education (OR = 1.5; p= 0.005). The two absolute contraindications were known by 38% of public and 31% of private sector dentists, and by 29% of DTs. The respective figures for relative contraindications were 40, 58 and 53%.
The majority of Finnish dentists followed the recommendations, but elaboration of international guidelines for good clinical practice is still needed to help clinicians to make optimal treatment decisions.