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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Effectiveness of dental students and dental hygiene students in teaching preventive dentistry to adults Sharpe, Linda Evelyn


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of dental students and dental hygiene students in their teaching of prevention. Forty new periodontal patients were randomly chosen and assigned to twenty second year hygiene students and twenty third year dental students. Three variables were investigated: (1) patients' knowledge of oral hygiene; (2) patients' practices of oral hygiene as assessed by a questionnaire administered before and after initial preventive treatment and again at a six-month recall appointment; and (3) patients' plaque index as recorded by students performing a visual check on oral cleanliness. In addition, the student's attitude toward his role as an educator was assessed by a questionnaire administered prior to any patient contact. The patients' responses were evaluated to determine any changes in knowledge and improvement in preventive habits over the six-month period. The plaque index was used to correlate the patient's actual oral hygiene with his reported oral hygiene practices. The results demonstrated that dental students and dental hygiene students were equally effective in the teaching of correct oral hygiene procedures. The teaching program itself was effective in that all patients showed a significant improvement in their oral health by the end of the study. The results of the student questionnaire showed that the hygienists did feel that the task of teaching was more important than did the dental students although both groups responded favourably in their attitudes toward teaching prevention. The plaque index at follow-up was most influenced by pre-test knowledge score and by habits at the conclusion of the initial treatment period. Such socio-economic characteristics as age and educational level had little influence on the adoption of correct oral hygiene practices.

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