Do patients' expectations influence their satisfaction with complete dentures?
Background: Most edentulous patients have expectations regarding complete dentures that are not only dependant on past experiences but also the information they received from others. These expectations may impact on the level of satisfaction the patient would have when receiving their complete dentures. When determining levels of satisfaction, factors such as comfort, speech, aesthetics, mastication, retention, fit / stability and occurrence of pain should be assessed. The dental student should be able to clinically apply theoretical knowledge to provide the patient with a stable and retentive denture that fulfils their expectations on function and aesthetics. Not much has been written regarding this link between patients' expectations and satisfaction with complete dentures at the University of the Western Cape, thus it warranted further investigation. Aim: The aim of this study was to determine whether patients' expectations influence their satisfaction with new complete dentures constructed by undergraduate dental students. Objectives:- 1. To determine the expectations of the edentulous patients prior to receiving new complete dentures. 2. To determine if patients’ expectations influences satisfaction with new complete dentures. 3. To investigate the influence of socio-demographic factors on patients' satisfaction wearing complete dentures. 4. To determine if the level of experience of the undergraduate student influences patient satisfaction. Methodology: This was an observational study using two questionnaires for data collection namely the Patient Expectation Questionnaire and the Oral Health Impact Profile- 20. Socio-demographic data was collected as part of the first questionnaire. Each participant was given an individual case number that corresponded on both questionnaires. This facilitated correlation between the expectations and satisfaction results of individual patients. Results: The age range for the majority of the patients was between 56-65 years. Females made up 72% of the sample with 85% of the sample of coloured ethnicity. Statistical analysis included reliability testing of the Patient Expectation Questionnaire and the Cronbach's Alpha of .773 was recorded, which indicates good reliability. Results following analysis of the Oral Health Impact Profile-20 showed high levels of satisfaction in most domains. The correlation between patients' expectations and satisfaction with new complete dentures was not proven using Pearson correlation. However, the comparison between the expectations questionnaire and Oral Health Impact Profile-20 frequency distribution showed positive results and most expectations of the patient were met or even exceeded for certain domains. Conclusion: Once analysis of both questionnaires was completed high levels of expectations were recorded and these expectations were met in most domains. Even though the statistical relationship between patient expectations and satisfaction was not proven, analysis of the questionnaires yielded positive results. No association was found between pre-treatment expectation and patient satisfaction with complete dentures. Some socio-demographic factors influenced patient satisfaction with complete dentures. High levels of patient satisfaction were recorded regardless of the clinical experience of the undergraduate dental student.