Introduction: Published guidance documents describe best practice recommendations for management of patients with diabetes and periodontitis. However, little is known about their uptake by dental professionals.
Aims: To explore current practice and behavioural correlates for three behaviours in the management of patients with diabetes and periodontitis: 'informing' patients about the links; 'considering' the impact of periodontitis treatment on glycaemic control; and 'contacting' the patient's doctor.
Methods: Participants (N = 328) recruited via two UK professional dental societies completed online questionnaires assessing their 'informing', 'considering' and 'contacting' activities, utilising constructs from behavioural and implementation theories (social cognitive theory and normalisation process theory).
Results: There was good reported uptake of 'informing' and 'considering', with clinicians performing these behaviours in more than eight of their last ten patients. However, there was poor uptake of 'contacting'. Periodontal specialists had significantly higher scores for 'contacting' (3.44±4.16 of last ten patients) than dental hygienist/therapists (0.57±1.37, p <0.001), who mainly relied on dentists to contact the doctor. Respondents indicated negative experiences of 'contacting', preferring to communicate via the patient than contact the doctor directly.
Conclusion: Contacting the doctor can be problematic and dental clinicians generally chose not to do this, indicating a mismatch between this best practice recommendation and preferences of dental clinicians.