Dental caries and periodontal disease are two of the most common infection-based dental conditions in the United States. Most dental practice revolves around efforts to prevent these conditions or treatments to mitigate their effects. Ample evidence suggests that dentists often do not use the most effective treatment methods when treating caries and periodontal disease. We postulate that this is not because they have not been exposed to evidence-based guidelines but rather that they continue to express the practice patterns they learned in dental school - even if they are no longer considered best practices. This project will provide dentists with simulated patients posing evidence-based challenges of effective treatment and build in treatment-specific decision support. We will assign HealthPartners dentists into a usual-care and simulation group and measure their treatment-planning patterns after the simulation group is exposed to evidence-based simulations and feedback support. We expect to find that the dentists exposed to the simulation encounters will exhibit practice patterns more congruent with successful patterns practiced in the simulation. While conducting this project, we will also plan the distribution of the simulation tool to the broader dental community.
Dental caries and periodontal disease are two of the most common infection-based dental conditions dentists encounter in daily practice. Although there are evidence-based guidelines for prevention and treatment for these conditions, research shows that dentists often do not to use the most effective treatment methods. This study seeks to assess whether training dentists through simulated patient interaction and feedback rooted in evidence-based guidelines leads to better dental care.