Comparison of decisions regarding prophylactic removal of mandibular third molars in Sweden and Wales
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OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that Swedish dentists schedule more mandibular third molars for prophylactic removal compared with UK dentists and oral surgeons. DESIGN: Clinical and radiographic information relating to a stratified sample of 36 disease-free mandibular third molars (equal distribution of males and females, patients' age, angular position and degree of impaction) was presented to 26 general dental practitioners (GDPs) and 10 oral surgeons in Sweden and 18 GDPs and 10 oral surgeons in Wales who were asked to decide whether or not the third molars should be removed. RESULTS: There was no evidence of any difference in mean number of molars scheduled for removal by the GDPs, but the Swedish oral surgeons scheduled significantly more third molars for removal than oral surgeons in Wales. CONCLUSION: The less interventionist approach among oral surgeons in the UK may reflect the development and application of authoritative guidelines in the UK and an extensive debate concerning appropriateness of prophylactic removal there.
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