Given the oral health implications of smoking, vaping, and using smokeless tobacco products (STPs), the dental office can be an effective setting for clinicians to offer smoking cessation counseling and treatment (SCCT).
A survey tool was developed to assess dentists’ approach and experience with SCCT. This survey was deployed electronically on May 21, 2021, to the American Dental Association Clinical Evaluators (ACE) Panel (N = 982), and 1 week later, nonresponders were sent reminders. Results were summarized in SAS Version 9.4.
Of the 283 survey responders, one-half offered SCCT to their patients. Of those who offered SCCT, 69% would be willing to prescribe pharmacologic agents to help with cessation. Nine of 10 times, SCCT conversations included the dentist. Of the 49% of respondents who did not offer SCCT, one-quarter were current or past smokers, vapers, or STP users. Out of all of the survey respondents, 40% were aware that SCCT is part of most medical benefits. Most respondents (82%) perform surgeries on patients who smoke, vape, or use STPs.
Implementation of SCCT in the dental office was split among ACE panelists, but when it was offered, the dentist was almost always involved. Awareness about SCCT medical benefits and surgical protocols for current smokers, vapers, and STP users differed among this sample.
Dentists can benefit from more formal training and resources around SCCT and access to reimbursement for having these crucial conversations with their patients.