Objectives

To identify causes of the evidence-practice gap (EPG) in dentistry in Japan and analyze whether these causes are associated with: (a) improvement of EPG in minimal intervention dentistry (MID) following an educational intervention and (b) specific dentist characteristics.

Methods

We conducted a mixed-methods questionnaire survey among 197 Japanese dentists that integrated both quantitative and qualitative data. Causative factors for the EPG identified in the quantitative survey were clarified by qualitative analysis. We measured the EPG in a baseline survey using an EPG measurement tool based on MID. To examine how feedback using the latest scientific evidence affected change in the EPG, we measured the EPG again immediately after feedback was provided to participating dentists.

Results

Qualitative analysis classified all dentists into one of four “EPG cause” groups, namely “evidence-”, “dentist-”, “patient-”, and “health insurance system-related” causes. Quantitative analysis confirmed that improvement in the EPG following the feedback intervention was indeed associated with group classification. The highest concordance was found for the “evidence-related” group while the lowest concordance was in the “dentist-related” group (p=0.004). Concordance improved after evidence feedback in all groups but was lowest in the “dentist-related” group. More dentists reported practice busyness in the “dentist-related” group.

Conclusions

In this study, we identified four groups of causes of EPG among Japanese dentists. The degree of concordance between evidence and clinical practice was the lowest in the “dentist-related” group, and the results of this study are expected to provide useful information for the development of intervention methods for closing the EPG in the future.

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