Knowledge transfer on the use of Atraumatic Restorative Treatment: a mixed-methods study

Cristiane DaMata*, Gerry McKenna, Martina Hayes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: to investigate the knowledge and attitudes of Irish dentists on the use of ART and possible barriers to its effective implementation. Methods: This was a mixed- methods, comprising two phases. In Phase I, 25 dentists participated in 3 focus groups, moderated by a trained methodologist in qualitative research. In Phase II, a questionnaire was posted to 300 dentists in order to assess their knowledge and perceptions regarding the use of ART. Results: 126 dentists in total participated in the study, 58 males (46%) and 68 females (54%), with a mean age of 44 (SD=10.7). 25% of participants had been qualified for more than 20 years, whereas the majority (58%) were between 10 and 20 years since qualification. The survey showed that ART was considered inferior to conventional treatment by 45% of dentists. Moreover, 66.3% of participants stated they do not feel they can charge the same for ART as they do for conventional restorations (66.3%). Both qualitative and quantitative phases showed that dentists still see ART as being a temporary measure. Focus groups discussions, showed that although dentists appeared to have some knowledge of ART, they are still not sure of its benefits and still consider it a substandard treatment for low resource settings. They also seem to be uncomfortable with the concept of partially removing carious dentine. Conclusions: Irish dentists are still concerned about using ART routinely. Barriers to its use include fear of restoration failure and lack of support from clinical managers.
Clinical significance: ART is an effective minimally invasive approach to treat carious lesions, but despite all the available evidence to support its use, many barriers still exist to its full implementation in practice. Training of dentists and dental practice managers and change in remuneration systems could help minimise these barriers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dentistry
Publication statusAccepted - 05 Jan 2022


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