Objectives: To quantify concordance concerning the repair or replacement of questionable restorations between hypothetical clinical scenarios in a questionnaire and actual clinical treatment provided by the responding dentists.
Methods: The study group comprised dentists participating as practitioner-investigators in The National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (NationalDentalPBRN.org) who perform restorative dentistry in their practices. Data from two studies were compared: “Study 1”, a questionnaire about repair or replacement of questionable restorations based upon hypothetical clinical scenarios, and “Study 2”, a clinical study from the same dentists in which data were collected about actual repair or replacement of existing restorations during clinical treatment. There were 128 practitioners who participated in both studies. Responses from the Scandinavian region (n=38) were excluded because of practice differences compared to the US. In Study 2 each practitioner repaired or replaced approximately 50 existing restorations. We report the percentage of existing restorations that were repaired (as compared to replacing the entire restoration) in the clinical study, by the number of restorations that were treatment planned for repair (instead of replacement) in the hypothetical scenarios.
Results: Practitioners who recommended repairing restorations more often for hypothetical questionnaire scenarios (Study 1) were found to have repaired (as compared to replacing the restoration entirely) a significantly (p<0.05) higher percentage (37.5%) of existing restorations during clinical treatment compared to practitioners who recommended replacement (17.2%).
Conclusions: Practitioners who recommended more repairs of questionable restorations in hypothetical questionnaire scenarios were significantly more likely to also repair defective restorations in their actual clinical treatment. This supports the validity of using questionnaire data using hypothetical clinical scenarios for treatment of defective restorations, as a measure of the actual clinical data.