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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pediatric Dental Education Improves Interprofessional Healthcare Students’ Clinical Competence in Children’s Oral Health Assessment

  • Author(s): Niranjan, Remya
  • Advisor(s): Lin, Brent
  • et al.

Primary care and healthcare providers can facilitate children’s timely referral to a dental home. However, there are few studies of providers’ oral health knowledge and clinical skills. This study aims to improve future healthcare providers’ knowledge, confidence, attitude and clinical competence in assessing children’s oral health. Sixty-five health professional students participated in a 10-week didactic and clinical curriculum on children’s oral health. They completed pre- and post-training questionnaire to assess changes in knowledge, confidence and attitude. Calibrated faculty graded students’ clinical skills on a 24-point grading criterion. Descriptive statistics, paired sample t-test and Pearson correlation were used in data analyses. Students were in dentistry (46%), nursing (28%), medicine (22%), and pharmacy (3%). Students significantly improved in knowledge (t=-7.71, p<.001), confidence (t=-10.30, p=<.001) and attitude (t=-4.24, p=<.001). Students on average scored 83% on clinical competence, with the highest average for fluoride varnish application (96%) and lowest for providing anticipatory guidance (69%). There was a moderate correlation between improvement in knowledge and their clinical skills (r=.39, p=.010). Interprofessional education improves students’ knowledge, confidence, attitude and clinical competence in assessing children’s oral health. Such education is necessary in guiding future providers to gain adequate competence in serving the children’s oral health needs.

Keywords: Pediatric Dentistry; Primary Care; Children’s Oral Health; Interprofessional Education; Oral Health Education; Public Health Dentistry; Oral Health Disparity; Access to Care; Clinical Competency; Oral Health Assessment

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