Background: Correction of dentofacial deformities via orthodontics is an integral part of oral health as promotes optimal function, periodontal health, aesthetics and overall oral health-related quality of life. The aim of this study was to examine whether paediatricians examine their patients to orthodontists, whether they have sufficient knowledge in basic orthodontic principles and whether they refer their patients for orthodontic abnormalities.
Results: We conducted a survey study of paediatricians in Greece. Questionnaires were completed by 96 out of 123 paediatricians (response rate 78%). In the assessment of the examination of the oral cavity, a low frequency of examination of the position of the teeth (54%) and jaws (51%) was found. Reasons paediatricians referred patients to specialists varied from mouth breathing-snoring 24% (23/96) to face or teeth asymmetry 87% (84/96). In the multivariable analyses for the effect of gender, work sector or years of experience in the decision for orthodontic referral, we could not identify any significant predictors.
Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that there was variability regarding orthodontic knowledge among paediatricians. Although the majority were aware of the importance of examination of the oral cavity, they did not have the appropriate knowledge to perform a full and systematic screening for orthodontic problems. The probability of referral was different for the various orthodontic anomalies.
Keywords: Education; Oral health; Orthodontic knowledge paediatricians; Orthodontic principals; Paediatric residency; Paediatricians’ role; Reference; Reference to orthodontists.