The aim of the study was to test the hypothesis that a further education programme relating to nickel-titanium rotary instrumentation (NTRI), with the concurrent activation of social/professional networks amongst all general dental practitioners (GDPs) in a public dental service in Sweden, would increase the adoption rate and improve root-filling quality.
To activate the networks, the GDPs at the 25 clinics elected training coaches from amongst themselves. The coaches were educated by a specialist and were then free to organise and conduct the training of the local GDPs. However, collective hands-on training and discussions were mandatory. Lectures were held by an endodontist. The rate of adoption and root-filling quality was evaluated just before and 6 months after the education. Statistical tests were performed with chi-square using a 95% confidence interval.
Nickel-titanium rotary instrumentation was adopted by 88%. Excellent root fillings (score 1) increased from 45% to 59% (P = 0.003). The rate of poor-quality root fillings (score 4 and score 5) was not affected. The quality ratio (score 1/score 5) increased from 5.36 (118/22) to 9.5 (133/14). Eleven dentists (17%) at nine different clinics produced 49% of the poor-quality root fillings (score 4 and score 5). Seventy-three per cent of these dentists stated that they had adopted NTRI.
The introduction of NTRI will increase the adoption rate and the frequency of good-quality root fillings. However, it will not overcome the problems associated with dentists producing a low-quality level, even if a local professional network is activated.