Endodontic diagnoses: a correlation of diagnoses made by General dental practitioners and endodontists
Objective: To correlate endodontic diagnoses made by General Dental Practitioners (GDPs) with (working) diagnoses made by (specialist) endodontists.
Methods: A retrospective, descriptive, cross-sectional study involving 140 teeth in 109 patients seen in the Endodontics Unit after initial diagnoses by GDPs in the Oral Diagnosis Clinic. Socio-demographics, teeth involved and diagnoses made by the GDPs and the endodontists were the data collated and analyzed using the IBM SPSS software version 20.0. Results: Females were in the majority (52.3%) while the mean age of the patients was 38.1 ± 15.5years. Sixty-four (58.7%), of the patients were referred by the GDPs with a diagnosis of Acute Apical Periodontitis (AAP) while 31(28.4%) were diagnosed with Irreversible Pulpitis (IP). The working diagnoses by the endodontists for the patients included AAP (51.4%) and IP (29.4%). Among the patients that were diagnosed with AAP by the GDPs, 47(73.4%) matched the working diagnoses while among those that were diagnosed with IP by the GDPs, 21(67.7%) matched. Overall, of the 109 individual cases referred to the Endodontic Unit by the GDPs, 59 (53.8%) were misdiagnosed.
Conclusions: Although, statistically significant association was observed between initial and working diagnoses made by GDPs and endodontists, on a case-by-case basis, the percentage of misdiagnoses by the GDPs (53.8%) was overly high. Though the patients in this study had the benefit of review of their initial diagnoses by (specialist) endodontists, such misdiagnoses will be of greater consequences for the patients, dentists and the dental practices in practices where there are no such reviews. Keywords: Endodontic diagnoses, GDPs, endodontists.