Title: 0210 - Perceived Professional Roles and Dentists' Treatment Decisions


Bonnie Yu (Presenter)
University of Toronto - Faculty of Dentistry

Abdulrahman Ghoneim, University of Toronto - Faculty of Dentistry
Herenia Lawrence, University of Toronto
Michael Glogauer, University of Toronto
Carlos Quinonez, University of Toronto - Faculty of Dentistry


Objectives: To investigate the relationship between a dentist’s perceived professional role (PPR) – the belief that s/he is a health care professional vs. a business person – with treatment intensity, defined as the aggressiveness of treatment decisions.

Methods: A 46-item survey was mailed to a random sample of 3,201 general dentists in Ontario, Canada’s most populated province. The survey had questions on dentists’ demographic, professional and practice characteristics. PPR was measured by visual analog scale and by Likert-type scale questions, which have been validated in the literature in terms of their ability to measure PPR. Treatment intensity was measured by a set of case scenarios, based on common clinical situations. Dentists had to pick one treatment option for each case scenario; the more aggressive the treatment option, the higher the assigned score. The sum of the scores for the case scenarios yielded a "treatment intensity scale". Univariate, bivariate, and multivariable analysis was performed.

Results: One-thousand and seventy-six dentists returned usable surveys (33.6% response rate). When measuring PPR by visual analog scale, 92% of respondents viewed themselves as health care professionals and 8% business people (n=926). Dentists who considered themselves business people tended to have a higher treatment intensity compared to those who considered themselves health care professionals (p<0.10). When measuring PPR through Likert-type scale questions, dentists who agreed with statements that represented a business orientation tended to have a higher treatment intensity compared to those who disagreed with the statements (p<0.05). In multivariable analysis (p<0.05), being an owner/partner of a practice and perceiving other dentists as competitors rather than colleagues were significant predictors of a business person role. Dentists who had a higher percentage of patients paying out-of-pocket were less likely to consider themselves business people.

Conclusions: Dentists’ PPRs had a significant relationship with treatment intensity. Demographic and practice characteristics also had significant relationships to PPR. These findings may have implications for public trust and dentistry’s status as a health care profession.

Student Presenter

Disclosure Statement:
The submitter must disclose the names of the organizations with which any author have a relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the clinical or research area involved. The following is submitted: NONE