Evaluation of the assessment of tooth wear by general dental practitioners

Mark O’Hara, Brian J. Millar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
289 Downloads (Pure)


Aim To evaluate currently available methods for assessing and monitoring tooth wear in a general dental practice environment. Method A questionnaire was developed and used to obtain data. Models were used to test the dentists' assessment of tooth wear. Ethical permission was obtained. Results Twenty general dental practitioners were interviewed and 100% were aware of the use of study models, 50% about the use of photographs and 45% of the BEWE. Methods used to assess and monitor tooth wear were study models (75%), photographs (65%), BEWE (10%), Smith & Knight index (0%) and no method (15%). Sixty-five percent of dentists were unaware of any guidelines on monitoring tooth wear. In comparing serial photographs, no participant correctly identified all the wear changes and 25% thought a change had occurred when one hadn't. Statistical analysis showed a sensitivity of only 73% with a specificity of 75%. In comparing serial study models (same cases as used in the photographs), 55% of participants identified a change when no change occurred and 50-60% of participants were able to correctly identify if wear had or had not occurred. Participants graded the models according to BEWE. Statistical analysis of these results shows a sensitivity of just 69% with a specificity of only 55%. The inter-operator agreement (Fliess' Kappa) showed an even lower degree of agreement was found with only 0.12, which suggests only a slight level of agreement, less than that with photographs. Conclusion Dentists do not seem to be aware of the current guidelines but do make reasonable attempts to monitor tooth wear. None of the currently available methods are ideal and even the use of serial study models is open to much inter-operator variability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-428
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number6
Early online date27 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Mar 2020


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