Treatment procedures and referral patterns of general dentists in Lithuania.
The requirement for dental specialties and the number of specialists in each country depends on the content and execution of undergraduate dental education, the complex oral health care needs of the society and other factors. The aim of our study was to assess specific treatment procedures of Lithuanian general dentists and their need to refer patients to specialists. Census sampling was employed and the data collected by means of a structured questionnaire asking dentists about the frequency of specific treatment procedures they perform and the frequency of referrals they make to different dental specialists. The results are of a self-reported nature. From general dental practice, 76.3% of cases needing orthodontic treatment were referred to orthodontists. About half of patients needing specialized care were referred to periodontists (50.2%), orthopedists (46.9%) and oral surgeons (45.0). More than one-third (39%) of the cases needing specialist care were referred to endodontists. Only one-third of patients were referred to pediatric dentists. In about 60% of cases needing respective care general dentists extracted teeth and roots, made incisions in acute jaw infections and treated young children; in about half of cases general dentists performed complex endodontic manipulations and treatment with fixed and removable prostheses. There is a clear need for Lithuanian dental practitioners to refer patients to all types of dental specialists. Undergraduate dental education program and postgraduate training should be more directed toward the extraction of teeth and roots, treatment of young children and provision of dental prostheses to patients.
Correspondence to V. Berlin Institute of Dentistry, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Žalgirio 115, 08217 Vilnius, Lithuania. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received 18 October 2014, accepted 25 September 2015, available online 24 October 2015.