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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Pediatric dentists’ recommendations and knowledge of teething management strategies Li, Michelle Yuan Ling


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine what strategies Canadian pediatric dentists recommend to parents/caregivers for the management of teething signs and symptoms presenting in infants/toddlers and to explore Canadian pediatric dentists’ knowledge (data-related), opinion (perspective-related), and behavior (action-related) regarding teething management strategies. Methods: An online, 29-item cross-sectional census survey was distributed to 385 certified pediatric dentists who were registered across Canada, as verified by either directly contacting or accessing provincial/territorial dental regulatory authorities. The data was first explored employing descriptive statistics. The differences in the knowledge (mechanism of action, regulation) and opinions (safety, effectiveness) were analyzed using either Chi square test or alternatively with Fisher’s Exact test when conditions for Chi square test were not met. Results: The response rate was 34% (n=107). Pediatric dentists typically recommended multiple strategies to parents, with the most recommended strategies being the use of cold objects (79%; n=84). Among those who recommended the use of cold objects, 55% (n=46) of pediatric dentists knew its mechanism of action and most (86%; n=72) considered this option to be safe. Systemic analgesics were also highly recommended (64%; n=69) by pediatric dentists as an alternative strategy in the management of teething when the use of cold was not effective. Pressure in the form of either teething toys (59%; n=63), or massage/compression of the gums (58%; n=62) was the third most common teething management strategy. Among pediatric dentists who recommended teething toys in the management of teething, 46% (n=29) knew its mechanism of action, 19% (n=12) knew how teething toys were regulated, 87% (n=55) considered teething toys to be a safe option. Ninety percent (n=96) of pediatric dentists did not recommend homeopathic remedies to manage teething symptoms. Conclusion: Canadian pediatric dentists are more likely to recommend teething management strategies to parents/caregivers when they consider them safe and not necessarily because of how knowledgeable they are in its mechanism of action or its regulation. More education is needed among pediatric dentists about the mechanism of action and regulation for commercially available teething products to decrease the potential for adverse outcomes among teething infants.

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