Most Dentists Feel They Should Conduct Drug Screenings
A majority of dentists feel it is their responsibility to question patients about illicit drug use, according to a new study conducted by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The results of the study are published online in the journal Addiction.
Data in the study was gathered through a survey conducted by the American Dental Association Survey Center. The sample size includes 1,802 dentists in general practice with a median age of 53. The dentists were questioned on patient interaction and illicit drug use in the years 2010 and 2011. The survey received a very high response rate, 71 percent.
The results showed that 86 percent of dentists believed it was their responsibility to add drug screenings into their dental care plans. Drug use affects oral care greatly, causing tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Questioning patients on their use of illicit drugs can prevent them from having any damage.
Dentists who were older were less likely to question their patients, while the younger doctors seemed to be more in tune with this issue. Females also were more likely to question the patients than males.
The study also states that it makes sense for drug screenings to be present at the dentist as some people visit the dentist more regularly than the doctor.