Patient Satisfaction with Dental Restorations

Patient satisfaction is important to practicing dentists because of links to regular return visits, caregiver trust, perception of technical competence, and treatment outcome.  However, little is known about the satisfaction of dental patients, particularly as related to specific dental procedures.  Dental restorations are one of the most commonly performed dental procedures, yet no study has documented patient satisfaction with a restoration-specific dental visit.  There are many unique characteristics to a dental restoration visit such as dentist-patient communication about the restoration material, comfort during and following the procedure, and the patient’s view of the quality of the restoration.  How patients prioritize these characteristics or use them in decisions about satisfaction are unknown.  It is known that patients make judgments of the technical competence of dentists, but whether these judgments have any association with immediate or long-term restoration quality and therefore the extent to which they are valid is undetermined. 

The aims of the study are to determine the relative contribution and importance of characteristics of a restoration and restoration visit with overall patient satisfaction following a dental visit that involved a restoration replacement or repair; and to link patient’s satisfaction and perception of the dentist’s technical expertise with long-term objective outcomes of the dental restoration.

This study will involve approximately 6,000 patients that have received at least one dental restoration repair/replacement.  Patients will be recruited from practices participating in the DPBRN study of replacement restorations, most of whom will be enrolled in a DPBRN longitudinal study. Participants will complete and mail the survey questionnaire the day following the dental visit to allow them to evaluate and respond to the short-term outcomes, such as comfort and function, as well as to the immediate aspects of the visit.