Evaluation of Final-Year Turkish Dental Students' Knowledge, Attitude, and Self-Perceived Competency towards Preventive Dentistry

Pinar Erdem A., Peker K. , Kuru S., Sepet E.

BIOMED RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL, vol.2019, 2019 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 2019
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1155/2019/2346061
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus


Background. Dental education plays an important role in providing students with the opportunity to develop their evidence-based knowledge and clinical skills regarding patient-specific preventive care and caries management strategies. The aims of this study were to examine the knowledge, attitude, and self-perceived competency towards preventive dentistry among final-year dental students and to investigate their preventive practice for high-caries-risk children. Methods. Data were collected from a convenience sample of 126 dental students using a questionnaire. The IBM SPSS Statistics version 21 was used for data analysis. Results. A total of 126 students completed the questionnaire, and 63% of the respondents were female. Significant gender differences were found in the total Professional Preventive Knowledge Scale (PPKS) (p=0.016) and its subscales of the noncariogenic nutrition (p=0.015), dental hygiene/clinical examination (p<0.001), caries-preventive practice (p=0.02), and the Hiroshima University-Dental Behavioral Inventory (HU-DBI) (p=0.028). Significant differences were observed in the total PPKS (p=0.003) and its subscales of the noncariogenic nutrition (p=0.043) and caries risk management (p=0.006) in terms of self-perceived need to receive education and training. Caries-preventive practice was correlated with the self-perceived competency (r = 0.279; p=0.002), the attitudes (r = 0.394; p<0.001), the total PPKS (r = 0.457; p<0.001) and its all subscales of dental hygiene and clinical examination (r = 0.425; p<0.001), noncariogenic nutrition (r = 0.410; p<0.001), and caries risk management (r = 0.184; p=0.039). The self-perceived competency was positively correlated with the total PPKS (r = 0.192; p=0.031) and its subscale of noncariogenic nutrition (r = 0.259; p=0.003). Greater self-perceived competence, more positive attitudes, and good knowledge regarding preventive dentistry were found to be important predictors of the caries-preventive practice of dental students, explaining 31% of the variance (adjusted R-2 = 0.312, p<0.001). Conclusion. 40% of dental students reported educational and training needs regarding the diagnosis, caries-preventive agents, and risk-based treatment plan. These results should be taken into account by the stakeholders in developing the national core curriculum for undergraduate Turkish dental education.