In a randomised controlled vignette study using either an NHS funded, privately funded or undisclosed fee status patient, the investigators examined the importance dentists placed on the funding status when deciding to offer patients endodontic treatment, as opposed to extracting the tooth.
The research team, including Drs Koula Asimakopoulou, Dave Gilbert and Ian Walker from the Dental Institute at King’s College London, were pleased to find that there is no strong evidence to suggest that the fee status of a patient influences the decision making in endodontic treatment.
The researchers commented: ‘This is only a small scale study using hypothetical scenarios and highly experienced dentists but on the basis of our findings we have no reason to believe that dentists get unduly influenced by the fee status of their patients before making treatment decisions.’
One-hundred-and-nineteen experienced dentists participated in the study. The investigation set out to discover if the GDP considered the fee-paying status of the patient when recommending either methods.
The results showed that the funding status was not an influencing factor when treatment was considered. A press release from King’s College London stated: ‘When taken at face value these findings are encouraging and suggestive that this cohort of participants takes a cost irrelevant approach in practising dentistry.’
The research was published in the British Dental Journal (BDJ) in December 2015.