Abstract

Objectives

To analyse dental hygienists’ (DHs) views on professional competencies and behavioural interventions in the treatment of periodontitis patients, perceived work-related support and work satisfaction.

Methods

A Web-based questionnaire was distributed to all DHs employed at the public dental service in the county of Västra Götaland, Sweden. 302 (83%) responded to the questionnaire; 291 of these DHs stated that they on regular basis treated periodontitis patients and thus constituted the sample for analyses. Based on initial correlation and bivariate analyses of the questionnaire data, multiple logistic regression models were formulated to estimate perceived competencies to treat patients with periodontitis and work satisfaction.

Results

The multiple analyses revealed that DHs who worked with specific methods for behavioural intervention, like motivational interviewing, were more likely to rate themselves as “definitely possessing the competencies required to treat patients with periodontitis” (OR 4.0). Likewise, this group of DHs did not consider it more difficult to charge their patients the financial costs for such a behavioural intervention than for scaling therapy (OR 3.1). The perception that one’s professional competencies were utilized well in daily practice was associated with high work satisfaction (OR 4.1). More years in the profession (OR 1.03) and a good support by colleagues (OR 1.9) had also a positive impact on work satisfaction.

Conclusions

Dental hygienists’ considered that competencies in the treatment of periodontitis patients were related to the practice of behavioural interventions as part of therapy. A stimulating and supportive work environment, with opportunities for professional development, is important for work satisfaction.

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