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Journal: Journal of dental education


The Department of Dental Medicine of Lutheran Medical Center has developed an asynchronous online curriculum consisting of prerecorded PowerPoint presentations with audio explanations. The focus of this study was to evaluate if the new asynchronous format satisfied the educational needs of the residents compared to traditional lecture (face-to-face) and synchronous (distance learning) formats. Lectures were delivered to 219 dental residents employing face-to-face and synchronous formats, as well as the new asynchronous format; 169 (77 percent) participated in the study. Outcomes were assessed with pretests, posttests, and individual lecture surveys. Results found the residents preferred face-to-face and asynchronous formats to the synchronous format in terms of effectiveness and clarity of presentations. This preference was directly related to the residents' perception of how well the technology worked in each format. The residents also rated the quality of student-instructor and student-student interactions in the synchronous and asynchronous formats significantly higher after taking the lecture series than they did before taking it. However, they rated the face-to-face format as significantly more conducive to student-instructor and student-student interaction. While the study found technology had a major impact on the efficacy of this curricular model, the results suggest that the asynchronous format can be an effective way to teach a postgraduate course.

Concepts: Effectiveness, Efficacy, Preference, Utility, Lecture, Presentation, The Residents, Public lecture


This study sought to determine whether using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) would detect differences in personality preferences in first-year dental students admitted to the same dental school through different admission methods. First-year dental students admitted in 2000 and 2001 were given the MBTI instrument during orientation prior to the start of classes. In fall 2000, the Class of 2004 had 140 students, with 116 in the traditional track and twenty-four in the parallel problem-based learning (PBL) track. In fall 2001, the Class of 2005 had 144 students, all enrolled in the PBL curriculum. All students admitted to the PBL track had experienced a process that included evaluation of their participation in a small group. Students in the traditional track had individual interviews with faculty members. Both student groups were required to meet the same baseline grade point average and Dental Admission Test standards. In 2000, the PBL students showed personality preferences that were distinctly different from the personality preferences of traditional track students in the categories of Extroversion (89 percent PBL, 44 percent traditional) and Thinking (72 percent PBL, 39 percent traditional). In 2001, the all-PBL class retained the trend towards Extroversion (69 percent). This study suggests that admission method may effectively change the personality preference distribution exhibited by the students who are admitted to dental school.

Concepts: Personality psychology, Psychometrics, Carl Jung, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, David Keirsey, INFP, INFJ


This opinion article applauds the recent introduction of a new dental accreditation standard addressing critical thinking and problem-solving, but expresses a need for additional means for dental schools to demonstrate they are meeting the new standard because articulated outcomes, learning models, and assessments of competence are still being developed. Validated, research-based learning models are needed to define reference points against which schools can design and assess the education they provide to their students. This article presents one possible learning model for this purpose and calls for national experts from within and outside dental education to develop models that will help schools define outcomes and assess performance in educating their students to become practitioners who are effective critical thinkers and problem-solvers.

Concepts: Psychology, Critical thinking, Education, Educational psychology, Skill, Thought, Learning, School


Although the importance of empathy, rapport, and anxiety/pain awareness in dentist-patient relations has been well documented, these factors continue to be an issue with patients in many dental school clinics. The aim of this study was to develop an in-depth understanding of how patients at an urban, university-affiliated medical center and its dental school’s clinic experienced oral health care and to generate ideas for improving the dental school’s clinical curriculum and management of the clinic. Although patient satisfaction surveys are common, in-depth patient narratives are an underutilized resource for improving dental education. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 20 uninsured or underinsured dental patients at these sites, and the results were analyzed using content analysis. Major phenomena that participants discussed were the importance of empathy and good rapport with their oral health providers and provider awareness of dental pain and anxiety. Many patients also discussed feeling dehumanized during dental visits. Based on their positive and negative experiences, the participants made suggestions for how oral health professionals can successfully engage patients in treatment.

Concepts: Physician, Pain, Dental implant, Dentistry, Oral and maxillofacial surgery


The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of admissions criteria at King Saud University (KSU), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to predict students' early academic performance at three health science colleges (medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy). A retrospective cohort study was conducted with data from the records of students enrolled in the three colleges from the 2008-09 to 2010-11 academic years. The admissions criteria-high school grade average (HSGA), aptitude test (APT) score, and achievement test (ACT) score-were the independent variables. The dependent variable was the average of students' first- and second-year grade point average (GPA). The results showed that the ACT was a better predictor of the students' early academic performance than the HSGA (β=0.368, β=0.254, respectively). No significant relationship was found between the APT and students' early academic performance (β=-0.019, p>0.01). The ACT was most predictive for pharmacy students (β=0.405), followed by dental students (β =0.392) and medical students (β=0.195). Overall, the current admissions criteria explained only 25.5% of the variance in the students' early academic performance. While the ACT and HSGA were found to be predictive of students' early academic performance in health colleges at KSU, the APT was not a strong predictor. Since the combined current admissions criteria for the health science colleges at KSU were weak predictors of the variance in early academic performance, it may be necessary to consider noncognitive evaluation methods during the admission process.

Concepts: Cohort study, Evaluation methods, Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, House of Saud, Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, King Saud University, Aptitude


The postdoctoral application and matching process in dental education is a high-stakes and resource-intensive process for all involved. While programs seek the most qualified candidates, applicants strive to be competitive to increase their likelihood of being accepted to a desirable program. There are limited data regarding either subjective or objective factors underlying the complex interplay between programs and applicants. This qualitative study sought to provide insight into the stakeholders' experiences and views on the matching process. Telephone and in-person interviews were conducted with ten pediatric dentistry program directors and ten recent applicants to pediatric dentistry programs in the United States in 2013-14. Participants were selected to represent the geographic (five districts of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) and institutional (hospital- or university-based) diversity of pediatric dentistry programs. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Veracity and need for more information were the themes most often articulated by both groups. The program directors most valued teachability and self-motivation as desirable applicant characteristics. The applicants relied primarily on subjective sources to gather information about programs and prioritized location and financial factors as pivotal for their rankings. Both groups appreciated the uniformity of the current application process and highlighted several weaknesses and areas for improvement. These results shed light on the postdoctoral matching process in pediatric dentistry via a qualitative description of stakeholders' experiences and viewpoints. These insights can serve as a basis for improving and refining the matching process.

Concepts: Philosophy of science, Computer program, Dental implant, Program, Dentistry


Quality of life is a complex construct that affects the overall life satisfaction, emotional well-being, and functioning of individuals. The aim of our study was to assess the quality of life of dental students at one U.S. dental school, using the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL)-BREF, a multi-dimensional, cross-cultural, validated, and reliable survey instrument. Of the 1,437 students invited to participate, 401 students responded, but 17 were excluded because of missing data. The final sample consisted of 384 students for an overall response rate of 27%: response rates by year were first year 32.6%, second year 16.9%, third year 26.6%, and fourth year 24.0%. The results showed that the responding students rated their overall quality of life as good. The Physical Health domain had the highest mean score, while the Psychological domain had the lowest. Females reported higher quality of life than males in the Social Relationships domain. Single students were found to have a lower perceived quality of life than married students. Older students were found to have lower perceived quality of life in the Physical Health and Environment domains. Physical Health domain scores were significantly higher for fourth-year than first-year respondents, while Psychological domain scores were significantly lower for third-year than first-year respondents. Further research is needed to explore the effect of dental school on the quality of life of dental students. Targeted programs to impact students' quality of life at various points in the curriculum may be beneficial.

Concepts: Public health, Human, Response rate, Life, Education, Quality, Personal life, World Health Organization


The aim of this study was to investigate whether advanced simulation parameters, such as simulation exam scores, number of student self-evaluations, time to complete the simulation, and time to complete self-evaluations, served as predictors of dental students' preclinical performance. Students from three consecutive classes (n=282) at one U.S. dental school completed advanced simulation training and exams within the first four months of their dental curriculum. The students then completed conventional preclinical instruction and exams in operative dentistry (OD) and fixed prosthodontics (FP) courses, taken during the first and second years of dental school, respectively. Two advanced simulation exam scores (ASES1 and ASES2) were tested as predictors of performance in the two preclinical courses based on final course grades. ASES1 and ASES2 were found to be predictors of OD and FP preclinical course grades. Other advanced simulation parameters were not significantly related to grades in the preclinical courses. These results highlight the value of an early psychomotor skills assessment in dentistry. Advanced simulation scores may allow early intervention in students' learning process and assist in efficient allocation of resources such as faculty coverage and tutor assignment.

Concepts: Completeness, Education, Skill, Learning, Resource allocation, Final examination, Prosthodontics, Fixed prosthodontics


Preclinical dental students must demonstrate aptitude in the preparation of teeth for treatment with several types of fixed dental prostheses. The optimal sequence of instruction and examination of these crown preparations in preclinical fixed prosthodontics is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine if grading scores by faculty and students were affected by changing the sequence of crown type preparations. Practical exams of two successive student cohorts (n=89 in 2014; n=92 in 2015) at one U.S. dental school using three crown preparations (full cast, porcelain fused to metal, and all-ceramic) in different order were analyzed by faculty grades and student self-assessment. All of the models indicated that the sequence in which the crown type preparations were taught did have an effect on the grades. The 2014 cohort had overall higher grades and particularly higher grades for the all-ceramic crown preparations. Evaluation scores were affected by the sequence in which the different crown type preparations were taught and tested. Although the overall results suggested that students may perform better if the all-ceramic crown preparation is taught last, this tendency may differ between years.

Concepts: Crown, Dental restoration, Restorative dentistry, CAD/CAM Dentistry, Bridge, Prosthodontology, Inlays and onlays, Fixed prosthodontics


The aim of this study was to assess the culture and climate for diversity and inclusion and the humanistic learning environment for students, faculty, and staff at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. From July 2014 to June 2015, two committees of 16 faculty members, staff members, and students, in partnership with trained program evaluators, used a participatory program evaluation (PPE) process to conduct the assessment using key informant interviews, surveys, and focus groups. The topics addressed were humanistic environment, learning environment, diversity and inclusion, microaggressions and bullying, and activities and space. All staff members, all faculty members (both full- and part-time), and all students in all four years were invited to participate in the parallel but distinctive versions of the survey from November 10 to 25, 2014. Response rates for each group were as follows: 50% (318/642) for students, 68% (217/320) for staff, and 40% (147/366) for faculty; numbers responding to individual items varied. Among the respondents, the majority (76% faculty, 67% staff, 80% students) agreed that the environment fostered learning and personal growth and that a humanistic environment was important (97% faculty, 95% staff, 94% students). Many reported having experienced/witnessed a micro-aggression or bullying. Many also reported having “ever had” dissatisfaction with the learning environment (44% faculty, 39% staff, 68% students). The students sought better relationships with the faculty; the staff and faculty members sought opportunities for professional development and mentoring. Recommendations included cultural sensitivity training, courses for interpersonal skills, leadership and team-building efforts, addressing microaggressions and bullying, creating opportunities for collaboration, and increasing diversity of faculty, staff, and students. These recommendations were incorporated into the school’s strategic plan. In this study, a utilization-focused PPE process using mixed methods was effective for evaluating the dental school’s climate for diversity and inclusion, as well as the learning environment for faculty, staff, and students.

Concepts: Evaluation, Ecology, Natural environment, Education, Sociology, Ecosystem, Culture, The Culture