Dentists' self-perceived role in offering tobacco cessation services: Results from a nationally representative survey, United States, 2010-2011

Deanna P. Jannat-Khah, Jennifer McNeely, Margaret R. Pereyra, Carrigan Parish, Harold A. Pollack, Jamie Ostroff, Lisa Metsch, Donna R. Shelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Dental visits represent an opportunity to identify and help patients quit smoking, yet dental settings remain an untapped venue for treatment of tobacco dependence. The purpose of this analysis was to assess factors that may influence patterns of tobacco-use-related practice among a national sample of dental providers. Methods We surveyed a representative sample of general dentists practicing in the United States (N = 1,802). Multivariable analysis was used to assess correlates of adherence to tobacco use treatment guidelines and to analyze factors that influence providers' willingness to offer tobacco cessation assistance if reimbursed for this service. Results More than 90% of dental providers reported that they routinely ask patients about tobacco use, 76% counsel patients, and 45% routinely offer cessation assistance, defined as referring patients for cessation counseling, providing a cessation prescription, or both. Results from multivariable analysis indicated that cessation assistance was associated with having a practice with 1 or more hygienists, having a chart system that includes a tobacco use question, having received training on treating tobacco dependence, and having positive attitudes toward treating tobacco use. Providers who did not offer assistance but who reported that they would change their practice patterns if sufficiently reimbursed were more likely to be in a group practice, treat patients insured through Medicaid, and have positive attitudes toward treating tobacco dependence. Conclusion Findings indicate the potential benefit of increasing training opportunities and promoting system changes to increase involvement of dental providers in conducting tobacco use treatment. Reimbursement models should be tested to assess the effect on dental provider practice patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number140186
JournalPreventing Chronic Disease
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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