Title: Choosing a paediatric dentist: Factors influencing parents' decision
Abstract: Aim Choosing a paediatric dentist is an important decision for parents. The mechanisms of this selection have hardly been studied. This study assesses the factors influencing parents’ decision choosing a specialised paediatric dentist for their child.
Materials and methods A questionnaire consisting of 30 items that could potentially be relevant to decision-making was sent nationwide in Germany to paediatric dentists to be given to the parents of new patients (n=450). Eighty-nine out of 102 returned questionnaires (response rate=22.7%) were evaluated.
Results Parent’s and children’s experience in previous dental visits played an “important” or “very important” role in choosing a paediatric dentist (78.8% and 62.2%, respectively). The most frequently mentioned recommendation for the paediatric dentist was by friends and acquaintances (86.5%). Recommendations from other dentists were often included in the decision making (60.7%), while specialist journals or Internet portals were less important for the respondents (15% and 19%, respectively). Most of the parents used Internet search engines and the practice website to obtain information.
Conclusion Previous negative experience with general dentists was the main reason for visiting a specialised paediatric dentist. Recommendations came mostly from the close social environment and the qualifications were the most important feature for choosing a paediatric dentist.