Perceived Practitioner Barriers to the Management of Orofacial Pain in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: A Cross-sectional Study

Emad M. Hadlaq1 , * Open Modal Authors Info & Affiliations
The Open Dentistry Journal 23 Oct 2020 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874210602014010520



Orofacial Pain (OFP) is a group of non-dental painful conditions affecting the oral cavity and facial area.


The objective of this study was to explore which barriers to manage the patient with chronic OFP as perceived by general dentists versus dental specialists and to investigate whether if professionals with degrees from their home country versus another country or number of years of professional experience differ in their perceptions.


A closed-end questionnaire was hand-delivered to 600 participants [300 general dentists and 300 dental specialists] in four major provinces in Saudi Arabia. Demographic data were expressed as frequency. Proportional t-tests and chi-square tests were used to analyse intergroup differences. Statistical significance for all analyses was set at P-value < 0.05.


Overall, the response rate was 56.6% (340/600). Around two-thirds of the participants were general dentists (60.9%), while the remainder were dental specialists (39.1%). There was an obvious consensus by the participants that “Low payment/reimbursement” and “Lack of OFP knowledge” were among the most common barriers (85% and 83.5%, respectively). In contrast, “Legal risks” were the least frequently reported factor (38.8%). The most commonly reported barrier by general dentists was “Shortage of patients/lack of demand;” this was significantly different from the experience of dental specialists (87% vs. 72.2%; P- value < 0.01). In terms of the country of graduation or years of experience, there were no significant differences.


The study demonstrates the existence of many significant barriers other than OFP knowledge, such as reimbursement, facility and demand that could present obstacles and challenges to the management of OFP by general dentists and dental specialists. Most participants believed that dentists should manage this condition and that OFP courses should be included in the dental school curriculum.

Keywords: Barriers, Clinical research study, Dentist, Orofacial pain, Recommendations, Survey.
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