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Table of Contents
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 34-36

A study to assess self-confidence in oral and maxillofacial surgery among undergraduate dental students in Assam

1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Government Dental College, Silchar, India
2 Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Silchar, Assam, India

Date of Submission14-May-2022
Date of Acceptance29-May-2022
Date of Web Publication29-Jun-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ujjal Das
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Government Dental College, Silchar, Assam
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/INJO.INJO_11_22

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Background: The aim of this study is to evaluate the self-confidence of undergraduate dental students in relation to oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS) to assess the teaching curriculum in Assam using a validated questionnaire originally developed by the Association of British Academic Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons (ABAOMS). Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of internship year (n = 100) dentistry students was conducted in Assam. The ABAOMS questionnaire is composed of 17 questions assessing various areas of the undergraduate OMFS curriculum. The response options to the questionnaire utilized a Likert scale. Independent sample t-tests were performed to assess the difference in responses between the two-year groups. Spearman’s rho correlations were calculated to measure the strength of association between confidence in all aspects of surgical and forceps exodontia. Results: A total of 100 questionnaires were completed by the students. The majority of the students expressed feelings of confidence that they have enough knowledge to undertake independent practice (63%). General aspects of the questionnaire were answered favorably except for surgical extraction of teeth, in which both classes reported a lower level of self-confidence. Conclusion: Students felt comfortable with exodontia using forceps and elevators, root removal, managing acute pericoronitis, managing hemorrhage from a socket, assessing impacted teeth, and recognizing the clinical features of potentially malignant and malignant lesions of the oral cavity. They reported a lower level of confidence in performing surgical procedures.

Keywords: Dental students, oral and maxillofacial surgery teaching, oral surgery education, self-confidence

How to cite this article:
Das U, Mansabdar P. A study to assess self-confidence in oral and maxillofacial surgery among undergraduate dental students in Assam. Int J Oral Care Res 2022;10:34-6

How to cite this URL:
Das U, Mansabdar P. A study to assess self-confidence in oral and maxillofacial surgery among undergraduate dental students in Assam. Int J Oral Care Res [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 16];10:34-6. Available from: https://www.ijocr.org/text.asp?2022/10/2/34/348770

  Introduction Top

The teaching curriculum of a dental college aims to provide students with the highest theoretical and practical education to prepare for clinical practice. Several educational schemes and curricula have been developed across academic institutions internationally to enhance undergraduate education in oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS).[1],[2],[3] The Association of British Academic Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons (ABAOMS) Educational Committee has designed a validated survey instrument to assess dental students’ self-confidence in OMFS and has been used in several countries.[4],[5],[6],[7] The ABAOMS instrument is made of 17 questions assessing the students’ confidence in performing oral surgery procedures, the role of outreach in oral surgery, anatomy teaching concerning oral surgery, and oral surgery career aspiration.[4] Courses focussing on OMFS are taught during the final and internship years of training. Students’ perceptions of the OMFS training they receive have received little attention. There have been no prior studies assessing students’ views on their oral surgery education and their confidence in conducting surgical procedures. The aim of this study was to evaluate the dental students’ perceptions of the undergraduate OMFS teaching curriculum using the ABAOMS questionnaire and to assess their self-confidence and readiness to perform common oral surgical procedures.

  Materials and Methods Top

We conducted a cross-sectional survey of all internship dentistry students in Assam. All procedures performed in the study were conducted in accordance with the ethics standards given in 1964 Declaration of Helsinki, as revised in 2013. The study proposal was submitted for approval, and clearance was obtained from the Ethics Committee of our institution. A written informed consent was obtained from each participant. A previously validated questionnaire by the ABAOMS was used as the survey instrument of the study.[4],[7] The survey was distributed electronically using Google Forms (https://www.google.com/forms) to all eligible students via the student portal network. Students consented to fill out the survey instruments voluntarily, and the responses remained anonymous throughout the study. Students provided information about age, gender, year of study, and the number of extractions performed, along with 17 questions assessing various areas of the undergraduate OMFS curriculum. The domains included minor oral surgery procedures usually performed by practicing dentists, such as extracting teeth and retained visible roots, and additional surgical management of a failed extraction such as raising of a mucoperiosteal flap, bone removal, root sectioning, and wound suturing. Students were also asked about their confidence levels in diagnosing and managing acute pericoronitis, management of post-operative hemorrhage from a socket, assessing impacted third molars with respect to guidelines, and recognizing the clinical features of potentially malignant and malignant lesions of the oral cavity. Responses to the questions were in the form of a Likert scale, with five options ranging from strongly agree (1) to strongly disagree (5). The students then had to indicate if they were willing to participate or not. All students present in the country have responded to the questionnaire. Only students who were not present in the country during the study did not participate in the study. Statistical analysis: The data were analyzed using SPSS version 23 (SPSS; IBM Company, Chicago, IL, USA).

  Results Top

A total of 100 questionnaires were completed by 100 students. [Table 1] shows the demographic characteristics of the study participants and the number of extractions performed by respondents to date. The majority were female dental students (55%), and the mean age was 23.50 years for internship students. The majority of students expressed their confidence to undertake independent practice after immediately graduating from dental college (63%), as shown in [Figure 1]. The majority of students (73%) expressed that they viewed oral surgery as an enjoyable and rewarding discipline. In terms of experience in teeth extraction, 89% of the students reported extracting more than 25 teeth to date.
Table 1: Students’ characteristics and number of extractions performed

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Figure 1: Dental students having confidence to undertake independent practice after immediately graduating from dental college

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  Discussion Top

A major part of any dentistry curriculum relies on helping students acquire predefined clinical competencies and technical skills, and many consider the mastery of these technical skills to be of the highest importance in clinical practice.[3],[8] Thus, clinical competency and self-confidence in one’s abilities are the primary objectives of any dental college curriculum.[3] The high response rate seen in this study reflects the interest of students to voluntarily assess their undergraduate OMFS teaching in preparation for their entry in the dentistry practice. The majority of the dental students were females, which indicates the overall interest of the female students in Assam to embark on a career in the field of dentistry. Overall, when assessing readiness to undertake private practice and perform extractions with forceps and minor oral surgery procedures, confidence scores were favorable and similar to previous studies utilizing the same survey instrument.[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[9] This may be because the students receive extensive didactic OMFS teaching in their clinical years with a strong emphasis on head and neck anatomy. The importance of instilling constant anatomical knowledge during dental education to help with consolidation and retention of the clinical knowledge was advocated by Thomas et al.[5] More emphasis should be given on hands-on training sessions, utilizing phantom heads in oral surgical education, assisting in major surgical procedures, and utilizing novel models to conduct these surgical procedures which are considered to be essential for dentists wanting to practice the whole spectrum of general dentistry in clinical practice. A limitation encountered in this study was that dental students have different performance and academic caliber, and this was not adequately assessed by our methodology.[6],[7],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15] Given the nature of the dental curriculum, students were evaluated mostly through institution-based didactic examinations and through grading supervised competency in performing limited numbers of procedures. The true caliber and performance level of the students could thus be under-evaluated. Further detailed and standardized didactic and clinical assessment tools need to be introduced to better understand and evaluate the students’ performance in OMFS.

  Conclusion Top

Students felt confident undertaking independent practice and preforming exodontia. They reported a lower level of confidence for performing surgical procedures, ranging from the raising of a mucoperiosteal flap, sectioning of teeth, bone removal, wound closure, and suturing, to the writing of a detailed referral letter to specialists. This should prompt us to increase their clinical exposure to these procedures in the faculty clinic and off-campus rotations and refine our training schemes in the areas of surgical extractions and procedures related to minor oral surgery, such as raising a flap, bone removal, root section, and wound suturing.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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Macluskey M, Durham J, Cowan G, Cowpe J, Evans A, Freeman C, et al. UK national curriculum for undergraduate oral surgery subgroup for teaching of the association of British academic oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Eur J Dent Educ 2008;12:48-58.  Back to cited text no. 2
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Macluskey M, Durham J, Bell A, Cowpe J, Crean SJ, Dargue A, et al. A national survey of UK final year students’ opinion of undergraduate oral surgery teaching. Eur J Dent Educ 2012;16:e205-12.  Back to cited text no. 4
Thomas SJ, Atkinson C, Hughes C, Revington P, Ness AR Is there an epidemic of admissions for surgical treatment of dental abscesses in the UK? Br Med J 2008;336:1219-20.  Back to cited text no. 5
Henzi D, Davis E, Jasinevicius R, Hendricson W North American dental students’ perspectives about their clinical education. J Dent Educ 2006;70:361-77.  Back to cited text no. 6
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Buck D, Malik S, Murphy N, Patel V, Singh S, Syed B, et al. What makes a good dentist and do recent trainees make the grade? The views of vocational trainers. Br Dent J 2000;189:563-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
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Shah S, Halai T, Patel J, Sproat C Perceived confidence and experience in oral surgery among final year undergraduate students in a UK dental school. Br Dent J 2018;224:177-82.  Back to cited text no. 11
Cabbar F, Burdurlu MÇ, Ozcakir Tomruk C, Bank B, Atalay B Students’ perspectives on undergraduate oral surgery education. BMC Med Educ 2019;19:265.  Back to cited text no. 12
Burdurlu MÇ, Cabbar F, Dağaşan V, Çukurova ZG, Doğanay Ö, Yalçin Ülker GM, et al. A city-wide survey of dental students’ opinions on undergraduate oral surgery teaching. Eur J Dent Educ 2020;24:351-60.  Back to cited text no. 13
Henzi D, Davis E, Jasinevicius R, Hendricson W In the students’ own words: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the dental school curriculum? J Dent Educ 2007;71:632-45.  Back to cited text no. 14
Macluskey M, Hanson C, Kershaw A, Wight AJ, Ogden GR Development of a structured clinical operative test (SCOT) in the assessment of practical ability in the oral surgery undergraduate curriculum. Br Dent J 2004;196:225-8.  Back to cited text no. 15


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1]


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