Patients' reasons for consulting a GP when experiencing a dental problem: a qualitative study has recently been published in The British Journal of General Practice.
Dr Anwen Cope and collaborators at Cardiff University wanted to find out more about what drives people to contact their GP rather than their dentist when they have problems with their teeth or gums. Visiting a GP for dental issues does not usually work out as the most effective way to treat the problem and patients don't always receive the best care for their condition.
To recruit people to this study the researchers reached out to HealthWise Wales participants via email. 80 people responded to the email (this was double what the researchers had hoped for) and they were able to conduct telephone interviews to find out more.
The researchers concluded that patients' behaviour was influenced by a number of factors, including symptoms, availability and accessibility of appointments and personal factors, such as past experiences of dental care.
The recommendations from the paper were to break down barriers, so that patients can access appropriate dental care and to make clear information available to people about where to seek appropriate care for dental problems.