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Recording communication in primary dental practice: an exploratory study of interactions between dental health professionals, children and parents

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Abstract

Aim To explore the time taken and the types of communication strategies used by dental health professionals (DHPs) when interacting with and providing fluoride varnish and oral health advice to children with their parents.
Methods A video observational study was conducted to explore the types of communication strategies used by DHPs when interacting with child patients and their parents during preventive oral healthcare appointments. Three dentists and two extended duty dental nurses (EDDNs) from four general dental practices were recruited in East of Scotland. Forty-four child-parent dyads participated in the study. Verbal and non-verbal behaviours were coded with Observer XT 10.5 using the PaeD-TrICS coding scheme. Frequencies of communication behaviours were compared using Mann-Whitney U-tests.
Results The communication during the preventive care appointment ranged in time from 130 seconds to 1,756 seconds with an average of 736 seconds. The total number of communication strategies (verbal and non-verbal behaviours) based on 44 video observations was 7,299. DHPs used different communication strategies when providing fluoride varnish application (FVA) and oral health advice. Dentists used more direct communication strategies to elicit child patients' cooperation in FVA. EDDNs used communication behaviours to maintain a balanced relationship with children. Consequently, children exhibited different responses to the two different dental professional groups.
Conclusions Differences in the style of communication strategies existed between the participating DHPs when interacting with children during preventive dental appointments. Further work is required to confirm these initial findings.
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887–892
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Volume227
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2019

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