Orthodontic knowledge and referral patterns: a survey of paediatric specialists and general dental practitioners

Vered Barzilay, Tal Ratson*, Noa Sadan, Nurit Dagon, Nir Shpack

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Early diagnosis and referral is essential in order to provide the best orthodontic care. Paediatric specialists (PSs) and general dental practitioners (GDPs) are usually the first dental professionals to diagnose a malocclusion. Aim: To evaluate the knowledge and approach of PSs and GDPs in the management of children in reference to the timing of referral and early orthodontic intervention. Methods: A survey assessed referral patterns and the respondents’ orthodontic knowledge regarding treatment timing and indications for early treatment in the early and late mixed dentition. Results: One hundred and seventeen dentists participated in the study, of whom 79 were GDPs and 38 were PSs. The average total accuracy score in a 27-knowledge questionnaire was 68.6%, resulting in a statistically significant difference between the PSs and the GDPs. This difference arose from confusion regarding the prevention of maxillary permanent canine impaction and the need for a leeway space maintainer. Conclusions: The GDPs and the PSs had a sound knowledge of orthodontics and a reasonable referral pattern, although the knowledge of PSs was significantly higher than that of the GDPs. There is a need for further education regarding orthodontic treatment needs and timing both in undergraduate/postgraduate training as well as in professional continuing education programs. (Aust Orthod J 2020; 36: 55-61).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Orthodontic Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2020


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