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Evaluation of final-year dental students concerning therapeutic decision making for proximal caries


This cross-sectional study aimed to determine the radiographic criteria used by final-year dental students when defining the need for restorative treatment for proximal caries, as well as investigating potentially associated factors in this therapeutic decision. A questionnaire with two schematic diagrams presenting five levels of proximal lesion penetration was administered to students attending the six private and three public dental schools in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil. Absolute and relative frequencies were described and inferential statistics involving Chi-square and McNemar tests and simple logistic regression were carried out to assess variations in therapeutic decisions related to patient dentition (deciduous/permanent) and gender, age and dental school (public/private). Of the 346 dental students assessed, 28.6% (99/346) indicated restorative treatment for lesions restricted to the enamel in deciduous teeth and 38.2% (132/346) indicated the same for permanent teeth, revealing a statistically significant difference (p = 0.001). Student gender and age were not associated with the therapeutic decision; however, a significant difference between dental schools was found when comparing restorative criteria in deciduous (p < 0.001) and permanent molars (p < 0.001). The odds of restorative decision in permanent teeth when the caries lesion was restricted to the enamel was 72% higher for students graduating from private schools compared to public schools (Odds Ratio: 1.72; 95% Confidence Interval: 1.03-2.90). These data demonstrate a large variation between the therapeutic decisions regarding proximal caries reported by final-year dental students and suggest that deep reflection is needed on the part of faculty in order to provide an evidence-based education

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Last time updated on 17/12/2014

This paper was published in Directory of Open Access Journals.

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