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Care pathways and provision in bariatric dental care: an exploration of patients' and dentists' experiences in the North East of England

Abstract

Introduction Levels of obesity in the UK are increasing. The suitability and safety of dental care delivery can be affected by obesity. When patients' weight exceeds that of a normal dental chair, referral to specialist settings can be appropriate, yet no research has explored the process of care for this group.

Aims This study aimed to explore the experiences of patients and dentists regarding referral to bariatric dental care facilities.

Method Semi-structured interviews were completed with patients referred to a bariatric dental service and referring dentists. Interview transcripts were analysed thematically.

Results Twelve dentists and eight patients participated. Both groups were aware that obesity influenced care and had concerns about the safety of treatment. Dentists were cautious about discussing weight though patients were willing to discuss this. The challenges in identifying weight and organising appropriate care were key issues affecting both patients and dentists.

Conclusion Dentists should engage in discussions regarding obesity without hesitation, where appropriate. Redesigned patient-focused care pathways to direct patients to accessible services would help reduce stigma and improve safety for patients with obesity.

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Correspondence to Andrew Geddis-Regan.

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Andrew Geddis-Regan and Abisola Asuni are both funded by NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowships. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. This research was kindly funded by a research grant from the British Society for Disability and Oral Health.

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Geddis-Regan, A., Asuni, A., Walton, G. et al. Care pathways and provision in bariatric dental care: an exploration of patients' and dentists' experiences in the North East of England. Br Dent J 227, 38–42 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-019-0459-4

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