Indian Journal of Dental Research

ORIGINAL RESEARCH
Year
: 2019  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 170--174

Knowledge and attitude of general and specialist dentist in pediatric dentistry: A pilot study in Odisha, India


Sonu Acharya 
 Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Institute of Dental Sciences, SOA (Deemed to be) University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Sonu Acharya
Institute of Dental Sciences, SOA University, K-8, Kalinga Nagar, Bhubaneswar-751 030, Odisha
India

Abstract

Background: Pediatric dentists (PDs) treat children in a manner that builds a positive dental attitude in them. The treatment modalities for pulpally involved teeth in children are different by general dentists (GDs) as compared to PDs. Aim and Objectives: The aim of this study is to determine the attitudes of PDs, GDs, and dentists of other specialties toward endodontic treatment of primary teeth. Materials and Methods: A structured 14-item questionnaire was formulated in English and distributed to PD, GDs, and dentists of other specialties. The filled questionnaire survey was statistically analyzed using simple descriptive analysis, and inferential analysis was performed. Results: Of the total survey respondents, 12 (20.68%) were PDs, 28 (48.27%) were GDs, and 18 (31.03%) were from other specialties. About 91.6% of the total respondents preferred endodontic procedures in the primary teeth. Conclusion: The study concluded that the GDs, PDs, and dentists of other specialties differ in their treatment recommendations for primary teeth. The GDs and dentists of other specialties were regularly performing pulp therapy in the primary teeth and should frequently update their knowledge about endodontic procedures in the primary teeth.



How to cite this article:
Acharya S. Knowledge and attitude of general and specialist dentist in pediatric dentistry: A pilot study in Odisha, India.Indian J Dent Res 2019;30:170-174


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Acharya S. Knowledge and attitude of general and specialist dentist in pediatric dentistry: A pilot study in Odisha, India. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Dec 8 ];30:170-174
Available from: http://www.ijdr.in/text.asp?2019/30/2/170/259225


Full Text

 Introduction



Pediatric dentistry is the branch of dentistry that deals with children and adolescents. Pediatric dentists (PDs) promote the dental health of children as well as serve as educational resources for parents. Children and young adults often develop deep carious lesions due to poor oral hygiene and maintenance. These carious lesions if not treated early lead to deeper carious lesions eventually involving the pulp.[1] Despite having modern technologies in the prevention of dental caries and an increased understanding of the importance of maintaining the natural dentition, many teeth are still lost prematurely. The preservation of a primary tooth until the eruption of the permanent successor is very important in maintaining the arch length and form.[2] Pulpotomy and pulpectomy are widely used pulp therapy procedures in the treatment of carious primary teeth, while attempting to prevent premature loss of the primary teeth.[3] The main objective of any endodontic therapy is the total elimination of microorganisms from the root canal and the prevention of subsequent re-infection.[4]

Working with children presents with unique challenges to a dentist, especially the endodontic treatment in the primary teeth. The main problem with pulpally involved primary tooth is the diagnosis. Even after diagnosis, the correct treatment protocol for pediatric endodontics, i.e., instrumentation, working length determination, obturation, has to be met, which are quite a challenge in primary tooth, so that the primary tooth can be saved without any further complications. Most of the times, the treatment done remains incomplete either due to the lack of knowledge of the dentist or due to noncooperation on the part of the child or his/her parents.[5] Many dental practitioners usually prefer to extract the primary pulpally involved tooth because of these challenges. Knowing the importance of primary teeth in maintaining the arch length and prevention of malocclusion we have to keep the primary teeth free of infection if infected.[6]

There have been many studies which investigated the attitude of dentists in western countries such as the UK, USA, European countries, and also Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia.[7],[8],[9] However, there have been very few Indian studies on the same.[10] Here, we try to find the knowledge and attitudes of general dentists (GDs), postgraduates, and specialist dentists of other specialties toward endodontic treatment of primary teeth.

 Materials and Methods



The study was started after taking the approval of the ethical committee as well as informed consent from the participants. Two different participants were recruited for distribution and collection of survey forms. A structure 14-item questionnaire was formulated in English to determine the attitude of dentists toward the endodontic treatment of pediatric patients. The questionnaires were distributed to PDs, GDs, and dentists of other specialties. The purpose of the survey was explained to them. The initial part of the study related to personal details such as age, gender, and qualification. The second part had questions relating to endodontic treatment of the primary teeth. The participants were asked to fill the questionnaire and submit. Data were analyzed statistically.

 Results



A total of 58 survey questionnaires were distributed. All 58 questionnaires were filled and returned with the response rate of 100%. Of the total survey respondents, 12 (20.68%) were PDs, 28 (48.27%) were GDs, and 18 (31.03%) were from other specialties. Among all 58 respondents, 24 were male and 34 were female. The dentists were asked about the preference of endodontic treatment in the primary teeth. About 88% (51/58) of the total respondents preferred to do endodontic treatment in pediatric patients in which 25% were GDs, 35% were PDs, and 28% were dentists from other specialties [Figure 1]. About 72% (42/58) of the total respondents considered “difficulty in behavior management” as the common reason for rejecting endodontic treatment in primary molars [Figure 2]. Other reasons were “poor efforts to cost ratio/more efforts to low cost of treatment ratio (8.6%) whereas only 1 (1.7%) person told as unable to locate canals due to complex root canal anatomy.” 15.5% considered parental influence as the common reason for rejecting endodontic treatment in pediatric patients. For pain control method, before endodontic treatment of primary mandibular molar, respondent considered infiltration (43.1%) as the appropriate method followed by standard inferior alveolar (IA) nerve block (39.65%) and intrapulpal anesthesia (15.55%). About 1.7% of the respondents chose not to use of local anesthesia generally considering primary teeth as nonvital teeth. Working length radiograph (65.51%) and tentative working length using pretreatment radiograph (8.62%) were the two common methods used for working length determination by the respondents. Regarding pulp therapy, most responded to do pulpotomy (39.67%) rather than pulpectomy (20.68%), irrespective of pulpal status. Rest of them (39.65%) prefer to extract the deciduous tooth, none of them referring the case to a pedodontist. Most of the respondents (89.65%) still are of the opinion to use formocresol as a pulpotomy agent [Figure 3]. The use of formocresol as pulpotomy agent was in most cases for 5 min (56.89%) rather than 1 min (32.75%). Use of apex locator (3.44%) for working length was considered less, whereas 65.5% took radiographs for working length determination. Many of the respondents (20.65%) were not interested in taking working length in pediatric patients. Nearly 65.5% of respondents prefer to use cotton roll with suction for isolation in pulp therapy procedures in children, whereas most of them avoid using rubber dam. Zinc oxide eugenol (ZOE) (43.1%) and calcium hydroxide-iodoform paste (53.4%) were the materials preferred for obturation in deciduous teeth by the respondents [Figure 4]. The most frequently used obturation technique was the use of obturation syringes (56.89%) followed by handheld reamers (27.58%). However, slow-speed lentulo spirals (13.7%) were used by very few dentists. The final restoration preferred for endodontically treated primary tooth was stainless steel crown (41.37%), 50% used glass ionomer cement (GIC), 3.44% used composite, and silver amalgam showed the least preference (1.72%). 84.48% of the respondents wanted to undergo further training in pediatric endodontics [Figure 5].{Figure 1}{Figure 2}{Figure 3}{Figure 4}{Figure 5}

 Discussion



A number of factors seem to be involved in the development of pulp disease in primary and permanent teeth, with dental caries being the main factor. Although these factors are similar, the clinical management of a primary and permanent tooth with pulp disease may be quite different.[11] The diagnosis of pulp disease is especially difficult in pediatric patients because they are usually unable to give an accurate account of their symptoms. The diagnosis is dependent on the combination of a good history, clinical and radiological examination, and special tests. A successful pediatric endodontic outcome should be based on (1) re-establishment of healthy periodontal tissues; (2) freedom from pathologic root resorption; and (3) maintenance of the primary tooth in an infection-free state to hold space for the eruption of its permanent successor.[12]

Since long, there has been two older methods for endodontic treatment in primary teeth, namely pulpotomy and pulpectomy.[13] Hence, we wanted to know the knowledge among GDs, PDs, and dentists from other specialties about the endodontic methods in the primary teeth.

This study showed that majority of the respondents knew the type of pulp therapy to be done in primary teeth and also were willing to do the same on pediatric patients. This reflects the awareness among dental practitioners to try and save the primary teeth.

The common barrier for rejection of endodontic therapy in the primary teeth was behavioral management issues. Next barrier which came into prominence was poor cost to effort ratio in treating children. This result is in line with the similar surveys conducted.[9],[10]

The most common technique to anesthetize mandibular primary teeth is IA nerve block injection which induces relatively sustained anesthesia and in turn may potentially traumatize soft tissues.[14] However, strangely, most respondents in our study preferred to give infiltration in primary teeth. Use of apex locator in working length determination was minimal and most preferred taking radiographs. Due to the limitations of radiographic interpretation and high possibility of overinstrumentation of the unevenly resorbed roots and subsequent overfilling, the application of electronic apex locators is recommended regardless of the stage of root resorption.[15] Our study reported very less use of rubber dam for isolation as dentists found it to be cumbersome and time-consuming to apply in children; however, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the UK National Clinical Guidelines for pulp treatment in the primary dentition, the application of the rubber dam is mandatory.[16],[17]

Most respondents preferred to do pulpotomy instead of pulpectomy irrespective of pulp status. Rest of them are in the opinion of extracting the teeth.[9] Pulpotomy was preferred more than pulpectomy, irrespective of pulpal status, showing the conservative approach of the respondents. Most respondents were still in agreement of saving the primary tooth, which was in line with the treatment protocol followed by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.[16]

In our study, during the pulpotomy procedure, 52/58 (89.65%) practitioners used Buckley's formocresol, 4/58 (6.89%) used ferric sulfate, and 2/50 (3.44%) used glutaraldehyde. Formocresol still seems to be the most popular among the dentists for pulp fixation. Numerous studies have tested the effectiveness of formocresol as a fixating agent, and the consensus is in favor of using formocresol.[18] The standard time to be applied on the pulp is 5 min though studies have also indicated that a 1-min application may be sufficient.[19] In the present study, 56.89% of the dentists applied it for 5 min, but 32.75% applied it for 1 min only with rest not knowing the time it should be kept. This may indicate that GDs still try to read the updated literature concerning this procedure.

Pulpectomy is a root canal procedure in the primary teeth for pulp tissue that is irreversibly infected or necrotic due to caries or trauma. The root canals are cleaned and shaped with hand or rotary files. After thorough irrigation, the canals are obturated using a resorbable material such as nonreinforced ZOE, iodoform-based paste, and commercially available obturation pastes. Then, the tooth is restored with a restorative material and given a crown. The main idea in the present study was to know the obturating materials and techniques being used by dentists for primary teeth. ZOE (43.1%) and calcium hydroxide-iodoform paste (53.4%) were the materials preferred for obturation in deciduous teeth by the respondents. Although ZOE has a long history of being the best material for obturation in primary teeth, recent studies show that ZOE has certain drawbacks.[20],[21] In our study, the respondents used calcium hydroxide-iodoform paste such as Metapex and Vitapex which are better and recent advances in obturating materials for primary teeth. The most frequently used obturation technique was the use of obturation syringes (56.89%) followed by handheld reamers (27.58%). However, slow-speed lentulo spirals (13.7%) were used by very few dentists. This is in contrast to other studies again.[7],[9],[10] Stainless steel crowns may be the best choice for restoration of endodontically treated deciduous teeth.[22] The final restoration preferred for endodontically treated primary tooth was stainless steel crown (41.37%), 50% used GIC, 3.44% used composite, and silver amalgam showed the least preference (1.72%). The relatively less use of stainless steel crowns may be due to lack of expertise among GD. GIC may have been used due to ease of use and easy availability. Although most of the dentists were keeping abreast with the latest developments in pediatric dentistry, still most preferred to undergo further training in pediatric endodontics.

 Conclusion



From this study, it can be concluded that GD and dentists of other specialties are keeping an update on changing trends in pediatric dentistry, but still most of them need to be educated about the importance of primary teeth and the advantages in keeping the primary teeth in place till permanent teeth erupt.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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