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Use of rubber dam and irrigant selection in UK general dental practice

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John Whitworth, Kulwant Shoker, Emeritus Professor Jimmy Steele CBE


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Aim: To evaluate factors which influence rubber dam use and irrigant selection in UK National Health Service (NHS) endodontics. Methodology: A postal survey was conducted amongst two age cohorts of dentists, representing all of the 1970-73 (older) and 1990-93 (younger) graduates of two northern English dental schools (n = 643). Key and supplementary questions were posed on levels of rubber dam use, irrigant selection, and factors influencing practice in NHS endodontics. After manual checking, validated (dual) entry of responses was made to a flat ASCII data file before analysis with SPSS software. The threshold for statistical significance was set at the 95% probability level. Results: Eighty-five per cent of the valid sample responded to the questionnaire. Regardless of age and qualifying school, less than one-fifth of dentists always or frequently used rubber dam, whilst 60% never used it. Qualifying school had a significant influence on rubber dam use, whilst age had a variable influence. Major disincentives to the use of rubber dam included the perception that patients do not like it, that the NHS fee was inadequate to justify its use, that it took too long to apply, and that dentists had received inadequate training. Frequent users of rubber dam were significantly less likely to cite these disincentives than nonusers. Overall, local anaesthetic solution was the most common endodontic irrigant. Irrigant choice was strongly linked to rubber dam use, and to graduation cohort. Seventy-one per cent of rubber dam users irrigated with sodium hypochlorite, compared with only 38% of nonusers. This pattern was reversed for local anaesthetic irrigation. Younger graduates were significantly more likely to irrigate with local anaesthetic solution than their older counterparts, and the younger graduates of one school showed a highly significant increase in the use of chlorhexidine. Conclusions: 1) The majority of UK Health Service dentists never use rubber dam isolation in endodontic treatment. 2) Qualifying school has a significant impact on rubber dam use, and irrigant selection. 3) Use of rubber dam has a significant association with irrigant choice in endodontics.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shoker K; Whitworth JM; Steele JG; Seccombe GV

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Endodontic Journal

Year: 2000

Volume: 33

Issue: 5

Pages: 436-441

ISSN (print): 0143-2885

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2591

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2591.2000.00329.x

PubMed id: 11307462


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