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Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 111-114

Perception of dental students toward public health dentistry as a career option: A cross-sectional study


Department of Public Health Dentistry, Vyas Dental College and Hospital, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

Date of Submission08-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance27-Aug-2021
Date of Web Publication27-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Neha Shaktawat
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Vyas Dental College and Hospital, Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/INJO.INJO_28_21

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  Abstract 

Introduction: It is alarming as to how students have qualms in opting for Public Health Dentistry as their first choice for their postgraduation course, even though it lays the foundation for the awareness and prevention about the social aspects of the profession. The aim of the present study was to determine the career motivations and perceptions of dental students toward Public Health Dentistry as a career option among final-year dental students and interns of dental colleges of Rajasthan. Materials and Methods: The cross-sectional study was conducted among five randomly selected private dental colleges in Rajasthan. A close-ended, multiple-choice, structured questionnaire was distributed through email to selected study samples during the months of February and March 2020. The data thus collected were statistically analyzed. The statistical analysis used in this study was descriptive and inferential. The inferential analysis used in this study was a chi-square test to find out the association of age and gender with knowledge, attitude, and practice questions and results were obtained. Results: A total of 390 students responded to the questionnaire. Among them 70.3% were females and 29.7% were males. Only 36% of students agreed to choosing Public Health Dentistry as a career option. Conclusion: Students’ perception revealed that they were not very aware of the future prospects of the subject they had chosen. Further efforts should be made by the dental council and the dental colleges to develop this specialty, keeping in mind the increasing attitudes and interests of dental undergraduates toward it.

Keywords: Career choice, dental students, perception, public health dentistry


How to cite this article:
Shaktawat N, Garla BK, Dagli RJ, Khan M, Das M, Dar AA. Perception of dental students toward public health dentistry as a career option: A cross-sectional study. Int J Oral Care Res 2021;9:111-4

How to cite this URL:
Shaktawat N, Garla BK, Dagli RJ, Khan M, Das M, Dar AA. Perception of dental students toward public health dentistry as a career option: A cross-sectional study. Int J Oral Care Res [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 19];9:111-4. Available from: https://www.ijocr.org/text.asp?2021/9/4/111/333811




  Introduction Top


India is a rapidly growing developing nation with an average population of around 1.2 billion, and it is the second most populated country globally.[1] About 70% of the Indian population still resides in rural areas with unmet access and affordability to oral health care.[2] The choice of dentistry as a career offers prestige, relative autonomy, and income above average, opportunities to help others, and creative and artistic challenges.[3],[4],[5] Dental professionals hold the most important position in society as licensed health-care workers. In dentistry, the number of undergraduate dental seats increasing in many countries requires the demand for specialty training and supervision at both graduate and undergraduate levels. After graduation, a dental surgeon faces a choice to either go ahead with clinical practice or pursue a postgraduate study to obtain a master’s degree (MDS) in one of the dental specialties.[6] Several studies have been undertaken on the characteristics, motivations, and aspirations of dental students worldwide.[2],[3],[4],[7],[8] Only a few studies have focused on the factors that affect one’s choice of postgraduate training in the various disciplines. Among the various specialties of dentistry, Public Health Dentistry holds a unique space, as this is the only branch of dentistry where practitioners focus not only on individual patients but also on oral health issues in communities. It is that part of dentistry that plays a role in the assessment and the implementation of dental health needs by lobbying oral health policies. Factors such as social standing and high professional status,[9] higher social status and income,[10],[11] ability to be self-employed,[6],[12] artistic nature of the career, helping people, and general interest in dentistry[12],[13],[14] have been reported as the most important factors influencing one’s choice of career. Therefore, the study aimed at evaluating the specialty and career preferences and their influencing factors among the final-year and intern students in Rajasthan.


  Materials and Methods Top


A cross-sectional, descriptive, and observational type of qualitative research was conducted. The study was conducted among final-year dental students and dental interns in randomly selected five dental colleges of Rajasthan. Out of the total 16 dental colleges of Rajasthan, five colleges were randomly selected through the random number table. Final-year dental students and interns who were willing to participate and had finished their postings in the Department of Public Health Dentistry were included in the study. All procedures performed in the study were conducted in accordance with the ethics standards given in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki, as revised in 2013. The study proposal was submitted for approval, and clearance was obtained from the ethical committee of our institution. Written informed consent was obtained from each participant. A close-ended, multiple-choice, structured questionnaire was distributed through email to selected study samples. A pilot study was conducted among 10% of the selected samples to check the feasibility and relevance of the prepared questionnaire from one dental college. Face-to-face assessment of participants could not be done due to lockdown, so the recruitment of participants was done using the snowball sampling technique. The students were approached through email, informed about the study, and asked for their consent to enroll in the study. After that, the students were requested to email back the filled questionnaire. The data thus collected were subjected to statistical analysis. The statistical analysis used in this study was descriptive and inferential. The inferential analysis used in this study was a chi-square test to find out the association of age and gender with knowledge, attitude, and practice questions.


  Results Top


A total of 390 students’ responses were analyzed.

[Table 1] reflects the perception and knowledge of Dentistry and Public Health Dentistry. The majority of the students (78.5%) did not have any dentists in their family. More than half of the students (58.5%) expressed their desire to work for the community at their place. Around 91% of the students stressed that there was a need for more Public Health Dentists to strengthen oral health care delivery.
Table 1: Perception and knowledge toward Dentistry and Public Health Dentistry

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[Table 2] reflects the response of students towards Public Health Dentistry as a career option. Only 32% and 36% of students agreed to choose Public Health Dentistry as a career option and realized its role in providing secure employment. However, more than 90% of the individuals accepted that this specialty could play a vital component in creating oral health awareness in society.
Table 2: Response of students toward Public Health Dentistry as a career option

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  Discussion Top


In the present study, most of the participants (70.3%) were female students. The findings were similar to those of the study conducted by Abraham et al. (2017),[15] Erdem et al. (2019),[16] Knevel (2015)[17], and Sharma et al. (2016),[6] in which female participants were 81.2%, 63%, 80%, and 65.91%, respectively. The present study reflects the perception and knowledge of Dentistry and Public Health Dentistry. Many of the students (78.5%) did not have any dentists in their family. More than half of the students (58.5%) expressed their desire to work for the community at their place. This finding is supported in the study conducted by Halawany (2017)[18] and Sharma et al. (2016).[6] These findings are found to be contradictory to those of a study conducted by Knevel (2015),[17] in which only 31% of students were willing to work for the community. Around 91% of the students stressed that there was a need for more Public Health Dentists to strengthen oral health care delivery. Nearly 60% of the students denied that Public Health Dentistry is limited up to organizing dental camps. More than 80% of the students knew the role of a Public Health Dentist and were aware that a Public Health Dentist plays an essential role in lobbying oral health policy. The present study reflects the response of students toward Public Health Dentistry as a career option. Only 32% and 36% of students agreed to choose Public Health Dentistry as a career option and one that provided secure employment. More than 90% of the individuals accepted that this specialty could play a vital role in creating oral health awareness in society. A study conducted by Al-Nomay et al. (2020)[19] observed that 54.4% of dental students agreed on future salary as a professional specialist. More than 60% of the students agree that Public Health Dentistry offers an excellent opportunity to continue education, work abroad and it provides a chance to become a good academician. The findings of the study are supported by the study conducted by Sharma et al. (2016).[6] The current study highlights the response of students regarding the future role of a Public Health Dentist and toward various preventive dental procedures. The limitations of the study were: First, the cross-sectional study design used did not allow us to establish whether the student’s future career intentions concerning Public Health Dentistry changed over time. Second, the sample was recruited from dental universities in the state of Rajasthan, and the results cannot be generalized to all dental students in India.


  Conclusion Top


Most of the participants in this study wanted to pursue postgraduation, preferably in one of the clinical specialties of dentistry. The present study concluded that very few dental students had a positive attitude toward the specialty, which suggested a need to increase their interest in the specialty.


  Recommendations Top


Dental schools should devote considerable time and effort in compiling information on postgraduate education. Systematic orientation of the subject from the under graduation level is the need of the hour. There is a need to broaden the limits of the subject spectrum from just being a teaching option in terms of financial interest to a specialty that is practical and more useful to the people of the country.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Population Census 2011 [Internet]. Census 2011 India.Available from: http://www.census2011.co.in/. [Last accessed on 1 Jun 2020].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Sharma N, Jain K. Dental interns study motivation and perception in formulating their specialty preferences in Bhubaneswar, Odisha: A cross-sectional study. J Educ Ethics Dent 2016;6:1.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Khami MR, Murtomaa H, Jafarian M, Vehkalahti MM, Virtanen JI. Study motives and career choices of iranian dental students. Med Princ Pract 2008;17:221-26.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Monika P, Manjunath C, Krishnamurthy A, Sampath A, Mohapatra A, Jaiswal S. Public health dentistry as a career option: Perceptions of dental interns in Bangalore city – A qualitative study. Acta Sci Dent 2019;3:03-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Singh G, Hiremath SS, Kaur A. Community dentistry as a career perspective among the students pursuing masters course. AOSR 2011;1:146-51.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Sharma N, Jain K, Kabasi S. Attitude toward public health dentistry as a career among dental students in Odisha: A cross-sectional study. Dent Res J (Isfahan) 2016;13:532-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Sapna B, Nadaf N, Shifa , Badroon SA, Rahim ZA, Tan R. Assessment of motivational factors and career aspirations of dental interns in Davangere city: A cross-sectional survey. Int J Oral Health Sci 2015;5:93.  Back to cited text no. 7
  [Full text]  
8.
Stewart FM, Drummond JR, Carson L, Theaker ED. Senior dental students’ career intentions, work-life balance and retirement plans. Br Dent J 2007;203:257-63.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Okwuje I, Anderson E, Valachovic RW. Annual ADEA survey of dental school seniors: 2008 graduating class. J Dent Educ 2009;73:1009-32.5.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Crossley ML, Mubarik A. A comparative investigation of dental and medical students motivation towards career choice. Br Dent J 2002;193:471-73.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Vigild M, Schwarz E. Characteristics and study motivation of danish dental students in a longitudinal perspective. Eur J Dent Educ 2001;5:127-33.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Jover M, Doudoux D, Deveaux E. Representations of the dental surgery profession and the motivations given by second-year french students for applying for dental surgery. Eur J Dent Educ 2006;10:2-9.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Stewart FMJ, Drummond JR, Carson L, Reddick GH. The future of the profession—a survey of dental school applicants. Br Dent J 2004;197:569-73.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Bernabé E, Icaza JL, Delgado-Angulo EK. Reasons for choosing dentistry as a career: A study involving male and female first-year students in Peru. Eur J Dent Educ 2006;10: 236-41.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Abraham S, Joy S, Subair K, Mathew M, Mohandas A. Career choices and future challenges: A cross-sectional study among upcoming Indian dentists. Int Dent J Stud Res 2017;5:96-9.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Erdem AP, Peker K, Kuru S, Sepet E. Evaluation of final-year Turkish dental students’ knowledge, attitude, and self-perceived competency towards preventive dentistry. Biomed Res Int2019;2019:1-11.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Knevel RJ, Gussy MG, Farmer J, Karimi L. Nepalese dental hygiene and dental students’ career choice motivation and plans after graduation: A descriptive cross-sectional comparison. BMC Med Educ 2015;15:219.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
Halawany HS, Binassfour AS, AlHassan WK, Alhejaily RA, Al Maflehi N, Jacob V, et al. Dental specialty, career preferences and their influencing factors among final year dental students in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Dent J 2017;29:15-23.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.
Al-Nomay SN, Alghomlas DB, Altuwayjiri AS, Aldebasi B. Influence of the knowledge and practices on dental students career choices of specialty in Saudi Arabia. Dental Res Manag. 2020;4:14-22.  Back to cited text no. 19
    



 
 
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