Perceptions of Special Needs Dentistry Amongst General Dentists in New Zealand
Aims: The aims of this study were to describe the current perceptions of Special Needs Dentistry (SND) among general dentists in New Zealand; and, to define the role of the general dentist in the care of patients with special needs. Methods: All general dental practitioners in New Zealand were invited to complete an online survey. All general dentists registered with the Dental Council New Zealand were included. The exclusion criterion were Special Needs dentists and specialists. An analysis of the data was performed using the SPSS for Windows version 25. Results: Findings were that 82.8% of the respondents have treated people with special needs, but only 7.7% of general dentists reported they were very confident in treating people with special needs. New Zealand general dentists who had undergraduate dental training with an SND component comprised 49.2% of respondents. Lack of experience in treating people with special needs was found to be the biggest barrier to care for those general dentists who did not treat people with special needs. Conclusion: This study is the first to report on perceptions of SND amongst general dentists in New Zealand. Results can be used to inform improvements to how SND is taught in New Zealand. Initiatives to encourage more general dentists to develop an interest in SND and have a positive attitude towards SND would be beneficial to the community, hospitals, government authorities, and policy makers. Such initiatives would lead to improvements in oral health care delivery for people with special needs.
Advisor: Adam, Lee; Ting, Graeme
Degree Name: Doctor of Clinical Dentistry
Degree Discipline: Department of Oral Diagnostic and Surgical Sciences
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: New Zealand; Perceptions; Special; Needs; Dentistry
Research Type: Thesis