General dentists’ awareness of orthodontic treatment needs of patients and their referral practices
Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)

Since general dentists (GDs) usually act as the primary referral source for the patients in need of orthodontic treatments, having the proper knowledge and understanding of the accurate diagnosis of clinical situations is very important. The aim of this study was to assess GDs about the identification of orthodontic treatment needs and their referral practices.

Materials and Methods

This descriptive and analytical cross‑sectional study was carried out in Iran 2020. A questionnaire consisting of three main parts was designed and distributed electronically among GDs. The first section included 11 image and scenario‑based questions meant to assess the ability of GDs to correctly diagnose the orthodontic treatment needs of the patients. The next two parts were to assess the dentists’ knowledge of the necessity of referral to an orthodontist with 11 questions, and the proper timing of orthodontic treatments with 8 questions. Data were analyzed using SPSS 26, by conducting Mann–Whitney, Kruskal–Wallis, and correlation tests α = 0.05.


Among 384 participated dentists, 50.3% (193) were female. The mean score of knowledge was 17.3 ± 3.5 out of 30. The highest percentage of good knowledge (70% of range) was related to the diagnosis of orthodontic problems, while the lowest one belonged to the referring pattern. There was a weak positive correlation between the working experience and the proper timing of referral (R = 0.15, P = 0.004 (. Kruskal–Wallis test also showed a significant difference between the total knowledge scores (P = 0.04) and the knowledge of the proper timing of treatment (P = 0.04) based on the age groups of participants. Eighty‑seven percentage (n = 334) reported that they would refer the patients in need of orthodontic treatment.


The knowledge level of orthodontic treatment needs among GDs was moderate, thus emphasizing the importance of planning more educational courses for them to improve their knowledge, thus reducing the possible detriments of postponed or inaccurate treatments.

Dental Research Journal, Volume:20 Issue: 8, Aug 2023
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