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Students’ Approaches to The Formulation of a Periodontal Diagnosis and Treatment Plan for Pediatric Patients: A Mixed - Method Study

  • Author / Creator
    Nagpal, Disha
  • Background and Objectives: Gingivitis affects almost all children and adolescents. The prevalence of periodontal disease in children while extremely low can lead to severe dental consequences if left untreated. Dental students should be competent in diagnosing, treating, and referring to such cases. At the School of Dentistry, University of Alberta, there is an acknowledged gap between the didactic and clinical experience of the students for diagnosing and treating pediatric periodontal problems. Thus, the objective of this study was to examine the effectiveness of third- and fourth-year dental students’ training on periodontal diagnosis and treatment planning in pediatric patients. Methods: An explanatory sequential mixed-method study was conducted in two phases. The clinical reasoning skills were compared using the Script concordance test (SCT) followed by investigations at individual levels using semi-structured interviews and think-aloud protocols. The participants were the periodontists and the pediatric dentists in Edmonton, Alberta, and the third- and fourth-year dental students at the School of Dentistry, University of Alberta. The quantitative data was collected using an online survey to explore the dental students' knowledge, confidence and compare their clinical reasoning about periodontal diagnosis in pediatric patients. The verbal analysis of the interview data was performed. Results: While there was no difference in the knowledge and the confidence level between the students, they differed from the experts for some questions on confidence. As measured using the SCT, no significant difference was found between the students or the students and the experts in their clinical reasoning. The verbal analysis of the interview data showed that the students used three different patterns for searching through the problem space. Most of the students used the forward pattern of search and reported low confidence in diagnosing and treating pediatric periodontal diseases. Conclusion: The third-year undergraduate dental students at the University of Alberta were as competent as fourth-year in terms of knowledge, confidence, and clinical reasoning for periodontal diagnosis in pediatric patients. The students' reasoning process was close to the experts. However, the students reported low confidence in diagnosing periodontal disease in pediatric patients. This study highlights the need for efforts to improve the confidence of undergraduate dental students in diagnosing and treating periodontal disease.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-bz44-ca29
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.