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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Teledentistry content worldwide and in Canadian dental and dental hygiene curricula Bakhshaeishahrbabaki, Anahita


Objectives: Despite teledentistry’s (TD) expanded utilization, it has yet to be fully adopted by oral health care professionals in their training and practice. The present study undertook a scoping review to explore TD incorporation in the training of oral health care providers worldwide and a survey at Canadian dental and dental hygiene programs. Methods: The Joanna Briggs Institute’s methodology was used for the scoping review performed by two reviewers. Studies published between 1989 and June 4th, 2022, were searched using “teledentistry” and “education” as initial keywords. An anonymous survey with thirty-seven questions was distributed among all ten dental and thirty-five dental hygiene programs across Canada. The survey focused mostly on TD teaching (methods employed, content taught, and barriers to implementing TD), with descriptive (frequency, maximum, minimum, mean, etc.) and inferential (Pearson chi-square for odds ratio and Fisher’s exact test) data analyses using SPSS®. A 𝜌− value<0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: A total of 2180 documents were found; nineteen were eligible for data extraction. Didactic education and hands-on practice were the most employed training methods worldwide. All of the dental (n=10) and 68% (n=24) of dental hygiene programs responded to the survey; of the thirty-four programs, eighteen had TD content, including three dental programs. An average of 9.22± 4.86 hours was reported for teaching TD, with lecture format as the most employed approach and using TD in dental practice as the most covered topic. While 53% of the dental hygiene programs employed formative and summative assessments, only one dental program reported having an assessment for this content. Moreover, programs that dedicated less than nine hours to this content were less likely to address more than seven TD-related topics (OR=0.14). Conclusion: There is a variation in the existing TD educational programs, from content to assessment in both the scoping review and survey. Less than half of the dental hygiene and 30% of the dental programs in Canada incorporated TD content. However, the sparsity of TD educational programs emphasizes the necessity for its future planning.

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