Knowledge and attitudes of dentists toward shortened dental arch therapy in Saudi Arabia
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess and compare the knowledge and attitudes of dentists toward shortened dental arch (SDA) therapy in Saudi Arabia.
Materials and Methods: In this cross‑sectional study, self‑designed‑structured questionnaires were distributed among specialists (SP), residents (RES), and general dental practitioners (GDP) in Saudi Arabia. The questionnaire enquired about dentists’ opinion regarding function, esthetic, and comfort in patients with SDA. It also enquired about the risks associated with SDA treatment (tooth wear, temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD), and tooth migration). Participants also graded SDA decision‑making factors for their significance. Frequency distribution and Chi‑square test were performed to compare the responses.
Results: A total of 300 questionnaires were completed. 53.9% of SP applied SDA therapy in <10% of patients. However, 54.8% of RES and 46.6% of GDP never used SDA therapy. SDA was considered by dentists to provide a satisfactory or acceptable function (76.4%), esthetics (76.1%), and comfort (76.8%). There was a significant difference in opinions of SP, GDP, and RES, in relation to the effect of SDA on esthetics (P = 0.039), tooth‑wear (P < 0.001), TMD (P < 0.001), and tooth migration (P = 0.002).
Conclusion: The knowledge of SP and GDP with regards to SDA therapy was broadly in line with current standards. Less than 10% of patients had objections towards SDA therapy. SDA therapy was clinically applied in fewer than 10% of cases.
Keywords: Attitude, dentist, knowledge, shortened dental arch