AIMS: In April 2010, the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) published guidance on the Prevention and management of dental caries in children. The aims of this study were to determine if further intervention is required to translate the SDCEP guidance recommendations into practice and to identify salient beliefs associated with recommended practice.
METHODS: Two postal surveys circulated to two independent random samples of dentists working in general dental practices in Scotland, before and after the publication of the guidance. The questionnaire items assessed current practice and beliefs relating to the prevention and management of dental caries in children.
RESULTS: Response rates of 40% (n = 87) and 45% (n = 131) were achieved. The results highlight a gap between current practice and recommended practice. The majority of dentists do not 'always' perform recommended behaviours and many are following treatment strategies specifically not recommended in the guidance. More positive attitude, greater capability and motivation were significantly associated with performing more guidance recommended risk assessment and prevention behaviours.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight the need for further intervention to translate the SDCEP guidance recommendations into practice and give initial insight into the salient beliefs that may serve as targets for future interventions.