Nordic dental hygienists' willingness to perform new treatment measures: barriers and facilitators they encounter

Jorma I. Virtanen, Battsetseg Tseveenjav, Nina J. Wang, Eeva Widstrom

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    BACKGROUND: In the Nordic countries, discussion on redistribution of clinical tasks between dentists and dental hygienists continues intensely.

    OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to analyse Nordic dental hygienists' willingness to perform new treatment measures as well as their perceived barriers and facilitators to carrying out such measures.

    METHODS: A questionnaire survey was conducted among a representative sample of dental hygienists in Finland and Norway (n=1733). The questionnaires enquired whether the dental hygienists were willing to provide 25 given treatment measures beyond those involved in their current practice. The chi-square test and linear regression served for the statistical analyses.

    RESULTS: The dental hygienists worked predominantly (62%) in the public sector in both countries. A majority (67%) of the dental hygienists agreed that they fully used their professional skills in their current clinical work. In addition to their daily activities, high percentages of the dental hygienists reported a willingness to carry out 'more often than now' procedures related to orthodontics (59%), local anaesthesia (59%), clinical photographing (58%), glass-ionomer fillings (57%), composite fillings (51%), and tooth bleaching (47%). The most frequently reported barrier was the dental hygienists' perceived competency (39%). Additionally, the dental hygienists identified the homogeneity of their current patient group (32%) and the traditional manner of delegating tasks in their workplaces (31%) as barriers to carrying out up to date clinical treatment measures. The dental hygienists' working community had a significant effect on their willingness to carry out new treatment measures (p<0.05).

    CONCLUSION: Our study indicates that dental hygienists desire to perform more clinical treatment measures than their current daily activities entail, but their self-perceived competency was insufficient to carry out such measures. Consequently, changes in dental hygienists' training programmes to provide hygienists with sufficient skills and confidence to perform up to date clinical treatments are required.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)311-316
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Fields of Science

    • dental hygienists
    • Nordic countries
    • barriers
    • clinical treatment measures
    • CARE
    • NORWAY
    • 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
    • 313 Dentistry

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