Methods: An online survey was conducted by Qualtrics, a secure web-based survey technology. The focus was the 4 year predoctoral dental curriculum in US dental schools.
Results: There was an 82.7% response rate (48 out of 58 schools surveyed). 46% of schools reported a single department was responsible for teaching cariology, and in 75% of schools this was the same that taught restorative dentistry. 69% had a defined curriculum for cariology, and 79% had preclinical activities prior to clinical experiences. The topics/subjects that were covered less frequently by schools (<80% of schools) included (% of schools): genetics and caries (67%), assessing readiness for behavioral change (65%), non radiographic technology-aided caries detection (76%), International Caries Detection and Assessment criteria (65%), partial caries removal (69%), atraumatic restorative treatment (43%), and management of salivary gland hypofunction (75%). 100% of schools reported that risk assessment was addressed in their curriculum. Products reported by more than 80% of schools as addressed in the curriculum and used also in clinics included: sealants, xylitol, over-the-counter and prescription fluoride dentifrices, professionally applied fluorides and chlorhexidine rinses. Charting of activity was infrequent (58% of schools). There was great variation in the thresholds used between surgical and non-surgical interventions. Only 35% of schools reported adequate implementation of cariology concepts in the clinics.
Although there is some variation in content/evidence being taught, one of the biggest problems identified was the perception that didactic content was not adequately being translated into clinical teaching experiences, which could have a significant impact on students’ learning.
Keywords: Cariology, Education research, Learning, Preventive dentistry and Teaching
See more of: Cariology Research - Clinical and Epidemiological Studies