Non‐clinical factors associated with referral to periodontal specialists Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:There is a limited body of literature exploring referral relationships between general dental practitioners and periodontists. Clinical and non-clinical factors associated with the referral process are rarely considered however a better understanding of these will improve the general dentist practitioner and periodontal specialist relationship and benefit patient management. This study investigated which non-clinical factors have an association with the referral of patients by general dental practitioners to periodontists in Tasmania, Australia. METHODS:A questionnaire was emailed to registered general dental practitioners in Tasmania, Australia and information collected on demographics, referral patterns, and potential factors which may influence referral. RESULTS:Response rate was 44.5%. Non-clinical factors that influenced referral were previous treatment by a periodontist (70.8%), a complex medical history (56.8%), the patient's reluctance to undergo periodontal treatment, medico-legal reasons, patient awareness of periodontal disease (47.3%), and lack of training (43.2%). Patients frequently declined periodontal referral due to cost (66.2%), oral health not being a priority (55.4%), or inconvenience (46.6%). The most important periodontist qualities were their reputation (84.0%), patient feedback (81.3%), ease of communication (72.0%), report quality (68.0%), and location (62.7%). CONCLUSION:Non-clinical factors, such as practice type-, general dental practitioner-, patient-, periodontist-related factors are associated with referral by general dental practitioners to periodontists for periodontal management.

publication date

  • August 2019