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Analgesic and antibiotic prescribing decisions of British Columbian dentists and endodontists Buttar, Rene


The problems associated with a global increase in antibiotic use and prescription opioid abuse have been well documented. The aim of this study was to assess the prescribing decisions of general dentists and endodontists in British Columbia regarding analgesics and antibiotics in clinical scenarios that involve endodontic disease. An additional aim was to determine whether gender, clinical experience, or the practice location of the clinician impacted their decision-making. A four-page survey was developed and distributed to half of the general dentists in Vancouver, British Columbia (n=284) and all of the endodontists in British Columbia (n=51). The survey began with some basic demographical questions, continued with seven different clinical scenarios, and concluded with a table that listed a number of different endodontic diagnoses. The participants were asked questions regarding their decisions to recommend or prescribe analgesics or antibiotics. The response rate to the survey was 49.2%. 72.0% of endodontists responded, as compared to 44.8% of general dentists. A substantial proportion of clinicians prescribed opioid analgesics and antibiotics in the various clinical scenarios. The prescription of opioid analgesics ranged from 3.6% - 46.8% over the various scenarios. The prescription of antibiotics ranged from 4.8% - 88.4%. General dentists reported prescribing opioid analgesics and antibiotics more often than endodontists. However, the respondents to our survey prescribed antibiotics less frequently than those of a 1996 survey conducted in the USA. Gender, clinical experience, and practice location did not seem to impact the decision to prescribe opioid analgesics or antibiotics.

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