The aim of this review was to evaluate the existing evidence in relation to the safety, quality, productivity or cost-benefit, and patient satisfaction of the procedures performed by the different groups of dental providers.
The authors searched the Cochrane, Medline, Embase, and PubMed databases. They included 4 papers that addressed safety , 9 for quality 4 for productivity and 5 for patient satisfaction. The diversity of the procedures performed and the outcomes measured meant that it was not possible to create pooled estimates in a meaningful manner.
Available evidence is sufficient to a larger extent to conclude that the auxiliary providers are capable of providing safe and high quality reversible procedures while enhancing the productivity of the practices. Patients have generally shown satisfaction with their performance. However, the evidence in relation to the irreversible procedures related outcomes is insufficient and there is a need for further investigations using adequately powered and well designed randomized control trials and other large observational studies.
Dasanayake AP, Brar BS, Matta S, Ranjan VK, Norman RG. Are procedures performed by dental auxiliaries safe and of comparable quality? A systematic review. J Calif Dent Assoc. 2012 Jan;40(1):65-78. PubMed PMID: 22439491.
This review covers very similar ground to one published by Galloway et al in 2002. That review searched 12 databases and included 125 studies. As one of the authos of the 2002 review we were disappointed by both the quality and age of the studies ( many being conducted in the 1960s & 70s). While this new review included 8 more recent publications, these are mainly cross-sectional studies so despite the continued interest in and production of a range of dental auxillary personnel high quality studies on ther use are still in short supply.
Galloway J, Gorham J, Lambert M, Richards D, Russell D, Russell I, Welshman J,. The professionals complementary to dentistry: systematic review and synthesis. London: University College London, Eastman Dental Hospital, Dental Team Studies Unit. 2002.