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Patients' reasons for consulting a GP when experiencing a dental problem: a qualitative study

Cope, Anwen ORCID:, Wood, Fiona ORCID:, Francis, Nick ORCID: and Chestnutt, Ivor ORCID: 2018. Patients' reasons for consulting a GP when experiencing a dental problem: a qualitative study. British Journal of General Practice 68 (677) , e877-e883. 10.3399/bjgp18X699749

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Background There are approximately 380,000 dental consultations in UK general practice every year. Aim To explore the reasons why patients may consult a General Practitioner (GP) rather than a dentist when experiencing problems with their teeth or gums. Design and Setting A qualitative semi-structured interview study with adults who had consulted a UK GP with a dental problem in the previous 12 months. Method Participants were recruited via print and social media; internet adverts; HealthWise Wales, the Welsh national population research cohort; and word of mouth. In total 39 telephone interviews were conducted, and transcripts thematically analysed. Results Participants’ consultation behaviour was influenced by their interpretation of their symptoms; their perceptions of the scope of practice of primary care practitioners; the comparative ease of navigating medical and dental care systems; previous experiences of dental care, including dental anxiety and dissatisfaction with prior treatment; and willingness and ability to pay for dental care. Conclusions There are several reasons why patients may consult a GP with a dental problem. Effective interventions will need to break down the barriers preventing access to dental care. Accessible public-facing information on where to seek care for dental problems is required, and general practice teams should be able to signpost patients who present with dental problems, if appropriate. Dental providers should also be encouraged to maintain timely access to urgent care for their patients.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Dentistry
Publisher: Royal College of General Practitioners
ISSN: 0960-1643
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 July 2018
Date of Acceptance: 14 August 2018
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2023 00:06

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