Factors Associated with General Dentists Acceptance Attitude toward Dental Therapists: A Cross-sectional Study
Author(s): Ehab N Alshouibi*
Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate general dentists’ attitudes toward the use of dental therapists as a model in the workforce, and to explore the potential predictors which affected them the most. This study was limited to general dentists in the Western Province of Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: A self-administered survey was distributed to 1500 practicing general dentists in governmental and private sectors, of three cities, in the Western Province. The data were collected, from January 2019 to January 2021, and analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), version 22. Descriptive statistics, bivariate analyses, and a binary logistic regression model were performed at p<0.05, and 95% confidence intervals. Results: A total of 1165 general dentists gave a 77.7% response rate. Almost 20.3% of the study population showed a positive acceptance toward dental therapists. The regression model showed 33% less acceptance amongst male general dentists. General dentists who had a negative financial standing showed 74% less acceptance. Inadequate knowledge of what dental therapists do, reduced acceptance by almost 62%. Government dental clinics showed 3.21 higher odds of positive attitude, compared to the private sector. These findings were statistically significant. Conclusion: Gender, knowledge of a dental therapists’ scope of work; a dentists’ positive or negative financial standing, and the type of dental practice, were important factors that influenced acceptance of dental therapists. Financial standing was the most significant influencer.