Methods: The study utilized an Internet survey sent to NJDA dentists. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were conducted to assess relationships between the screening practice of looking for oral manifestations of EDs and gender, age, number of years in professional dental practice and knowledge score. A priori alpha level was set at 0.05.
Results: The sample was 64.8% male (n=81) and respondents were general (n=108, 85.7%) or pediatric dentists (n=15, 11.9%). The mean age was 50.63 (±11.61) years. The mean number of years in practice was 23.22 (±11.94). Most respondents did not complete academic or continuing dental education courses (n=104, 88.1%) or clinical training (n=112, 93.3%) in ED identification and management. The mean knowledge score was 29.94/44. Most respondents looked for oral manifestations of EDs (n=122, 87.8%). Of those who refer patients for EDs management, the majority (n=97, 89.0%) refer to the primary care physician. No relationships were found between the screening practice of looking for oral manifestations of EDs and gender, age, number of years in professional dental practice or knowledge score regarding EDs.
Conclusions: Most respondents look for oral manifestations of EDs and discuss suspected or known oral ED pathologies with their patients. Respondents were more likely to correctly answer questions regarding diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa than questions regarding their oral and physical manifestations. When respondents refer patients with suspected or known oral pathologies suggestive of EDs, they largely refer to the patient’s primary care physician (PCP), with most indicating they do so because the PCP should be the health professional to make the referral.
Keywords: Eating Disorders and Nutrition