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Knowledge of diagnosis and management of selected oral mucosal lesions among dentists in The Netherlands

Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2023 Jan 15:25774. doi: 10.4317/medoral.25774. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Knowledge of oral mucosal lesions (OMLs) among dentists is relevant in diagnosing potentially malignant diseases and oral cancer at an early stage. The aim of this survey was to explore dentists’ knowledge about OMLs.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Respondents to a web-based questionnaire, containing 11 clinical vignettes representing patients with various OMLs, provided a (differential) diagnosis and management for each. Information about demographics and clinical experience of the participants was acquired as well. Descriptive statistics were performed and T-tests were used to test for significant (p<0.05) differences in mean scores for correct diagnosis and management between subgroups based on demographic variables.

RESULTS: Forty-four of 500 invited dentists completed the questionnaire. For (potentially) malignant OMLs, the number of correct diagnoses ranged from 14 to 93%, whilst the number of correct management decisions ranged from 43 to 86%. For benign OMLs, the number of correct diagnoses and management decisions ranged from 32 to 100% and 9 to 48%, respectively. For 11 clinical vignettes, mean scores for correct diagnosis, correct management and correct diagnosis and management were respectively 7.2 (±1.8), 5.7 (±1.5), and 3.8 (±1.7).

CONCLUSIONS: The results show that dentists in the Netherlands do not have sufficient knowledge to accurately diagnose some OMLs and to select a correct management. This may result in over-referral of benign OMLs and under-referral for (potentially) malignant OMLs. Clinical guidelines, that include standardized criteria for referral, and continuing education, may improve dentists’ ability to correctly diagnose and accurately manage OMLs.

PMID:36641742 | DOI:10.4317/medoral.25774

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