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Swed Dent J. 2009;33(1):1-9.

Dentists and eating disorders--knowledge, attitudes, management and experience.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Dentistry - Cariology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.


The aims of the present study were to explore the level of knowledge and attitudes among dentists in relation to patients with eating disorders (ED) and evaluate the extent to which patients with ED are identified and/or treated in the dental setting. A postal questionnaire was constructed and sent to all dentists (n = 367) in two Swedish counties during November 2005. The questionnaire comprised 29 questions or statements in the following categories: demographics, general knowledge of ED and its oral consequences, experience of and attitudes towards patients with ED and interaction within the health care system, for example, referrals and treatment options regarding this patient group. The response rate was 70% (n = 258). Perceived knowledge about ED was most commonly obtained from media sources, namely newspapers, television, etc. Few dentists knew that there existed specialized referral units for ED patients in their county. The majority of dentists stated that they had seen only a few such patients during their practice. Even though the perceived level of general knowledge about ED among female dentists appeared to be better than among male dentists, they also found it more difficult to inform the patient/relatives about their suspicion of the condition. Female dentists referred to specialists significantly more frequently than did males. Eighty-six percent of responders reported that they needed more training in dental management of patients with ED. Knowledge and clinical experience of dentists as regards patients with ED were found to be low. The level of education in this area needs to be improved, which would have the potential to encourage dentists to become more involved in secondary and tertiary prevention and management of ED.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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