Educating Physicians to Detect Dental Caries: Evaluating a Simple Teaching Method
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Purpose: The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of a fifteen minute educational intervention on the ability of pediatric medical residents to detect caries during a thirty second oral exam. The secondary objective of this study is to evaluate attitudes and opinions regarding the training and integration of dentistry into medicine among the participating pediatric medical residents. Methods: Physicians enrolled in pediatric residency were recruited to participate in a survey and teaching intervention. The survey was administered to 38 first year residents. A total of 7 pediatric residents participated in the intervention. For the intervention each performed a preliminary oral examination of 2 different child volunteers, identifying the number of carious teeth. A 15 minute teaching intervention was then administered to participants by the primary researcher. Afterwards, each participant performed an oral examination on 2 different children with the use of a dental mirror, identifying the number of carious teeth. Descriptive statistics were calculated for resident survey responses pre and post intervention. Carious lesions detected pre and post intervention were also assessed (Stata 12.1). Additionally, descriptive survey statistics were calculated for first year residents who did not participate in the intervention and only completed the survey. Results: There was a reduction in net difference of carious teeth identified after the intervention, however participants misidentified carious lesions before and after the intervention. Survey responses indicated that major barriers to dental mirror use include inadequate training and lack of availability of mirrors. Conclusions: The dental mirror training intervention did not appear to have an impact on the accuracy of identification of dental caries by pediatric residents. Attitudes and opinions regarding oral health may affect the acceptance of limited and focused dental education training. Multiple barriers exist to the integration of dentistry into medicine. Educational efforts should focus on improving cross-disciplinary training and interprofessional collaboration.
- Dentistry