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Complexity of best-evidenced practice in periodontal therapy: Views of Swedish Dental Hygienists

Journal article
Authors Anna Liss
Kerstin Nilsson
Jan Wennström
Kajsa H. Abrahamsson
Published in International Journal of Dental Hygiene
Volume 18
Issue 3
Pages 220-227
ISSN 1601-5029
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Odontology
Pages 220-227
Language en
Keywords dental hygienists, evidence-based practice, periodontal care, qualitative interviews
Subject categories Dentistry


Objectives: Dental hygienists (DHs) have an important role in the treatment of patients with periodontitis. The objective of the current qualitative interview study was to gain understanding about personal and organizational factors that influence best-evidenced DH practice in the treatment of periodontitis. Methods: Data were obtained by interviewing Swedish DHs, who had been engaged in a preceding clinical field study on evidence-based periodontal therapy. Qualitative content analysis was used for analysis. Data sampling was terminated after 18 interviews, when deemed that sufficient amount of information had been gained. Results: In the analysis of the interview data, a main theme was identified as “I know what to do, but I do as I usually do; DHs' ambivalence between theory and practice in the treatment of patients with periodontitis.” The results elucidated that the DHs were well aware of “what to do” in order to offer their patients adequate periodontal care, but this knowledge was not congruent with how they usually worked. Established routines and culture at the clinic, DHs' predetermined beliefs about lack of motivation and ability to cooperate among patients, lack of time and reflection, economic demands in care and lack of interest and support by co-working dentists were barriers to best-evidenced DH practice in periodontal care. Conclusions: The results elucidate the complexity of best-evidenced DH practice in the treatment of periodontal patients and indicate needs for quality improvement of the periodontal care provided in general dental practice, by actions taken on both individual/professional and organizational levels. © 2020 The Authors. International Journal of Dental Hygiene published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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