Objectives: To determine the dental knowledge of accident and emergency (A&E) senior house officers (SHOs).
Method: A telephone survey of A&E departments in England with more than 30 000 new attendances per year was conducted between November 1998 and July 1999. The questionnaire covered basic dental knowledge as well as scenarios of some common dental problems encountered in the A&E department.
Results: Most SHOs in this study saw between one and five dental problems each week. Of the 102 SHOs in this survey, 52% had no previous training in examination of the mouth. Only 52% knew the approximate date of eruption of a permanent upper central incisor. In the treatment of post-extraction bleeding, 36% knew the first line of treatment. When presented with a scenario of a patient with a dental infection, only 29% gave the optimal empirical treatment.
Conclusions: There is a need for better dental education among medical personnel. Guidelines or algorithms for the management of some common dental problems would also be useful as well as standard written advice sheets for patients with dental problems.
- dental problems
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