Dental workplace exposure and effect on fertility. (1/99)

OBJECTIVES: This study assessed occupational exposure in dental surgeries on the basis of the reported use of dental materials and techniques and applied waiting-time-to-pregnancy methodology to study fertility in relation to the occupational exposure. METHODS: Data were collected retrospectively using a self-administered postal questionnaire addressing the occupational and reproductive history of the participants. The study groups consisted of 558 female dental surgeons and 450 high school teachers that had given birth in Norway to at least 1 living child. The present study comprised data from a total of 1408 pregnancies. The effects of practicing dentistry and of the given workplace exposure on fertility were analyzed with the discrete proportional hazard regression method. RESULTS: Most of the female dental surgeons were using amalgam for fillings during the period they tried to conceive, and 1/3 placed more than 50 fillings a week. Tooth-colored fillings were in limited use. Prior to 75% of the pregnancies, the dental surgeons reported handling chloroform-based root canal sealers. Forty percent of the dental surgeons were daily exposed to disinfectants containing ethanol and benzene. No difference was found in fertility between the dental surgeons and the high school teachers. Exposure to mercury, chloroform, and benzene was not associated with decreased fertility, except for a possible effect of mercury in the last pregnancy of multiparous dental surgeons. CONCLUSIONS: Occupational exposures had no clear adverse effects on fertility among the female dental surgeons studied.  (+info)

The Structured Clinical Operative Test (SCOT) in dental competency assessment. (2/99)

INTRODUCTION: This paper describes a method of assessment of invasive clinical procedures which are currently being devised, and which are perceived to be a method that may be used to complement OSCEs in overall clinical skills assessment. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the Structured Clinical Operative Tests (SCOT) is to introduce a greater level of objectivity to the assessment of operative clinical skills. Invasive or irreversible clinical operative procedures from a large part of dental undergraduate training and are by their very nature precluded from OSCE scenarios. It is also important to test intraoperative skills, communication skills and contingency management, and performance of these with awareness of the psychosocial context and ethical framework. The paper describes the use of checklists in the monitoring of clinical operative skills in a more authentic clinical situation using the SCOT. FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT: Continuous assessment should a) record achievement of competency in as objective a manner as possible and b) should encourage continuous self-evaluation. In the SCOT the students reflect on their clinical performance and in consultation with their supervisors record their plans to improve their competence in that skill or procedure in the future. This is done immediately on completion of a clinical task while the experience is still fresh in the mind. This encourages deep reflective learning as opposed to superficial factual learning which is characteristic of the more traditional curriculum, and is described as supervisor validated self-assessment. DISCUSSION: The discussion outlines how SCOTs can be practically implemented and integrated into the undergraduate curriculum and an example of a SCOT is appended to the paper. The scope for using SCOTs in postgraduate assessment such as in VT/GPT is also described.  (+info)

Student operator-assistant pairs: an update. (3/99)

OBJECTIVE: To seek the opinions of undergraduates using the operator-assistant pairs system. DESIGN: A five-year evaluation of third-, fourth- and fifth-year students using a short, anonymous questionnaire OUTCOME MEASURES: This study set out to evaluate, but does not attempt to formally assess, the system. RESULT: Most students enjoyed working in pairs, citing mutual support and collaborative learning as being the main advantages. However, 67% of responding third- year students, 79% of fourth-year students and 54% of fifth-year students indicated that they did not know why paired working had been introduced. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of students found the pairs system advantageous over teacher-led situations. It encouraged greater efficiency, mutual support and help and collaborative learning.  (+info)

Competency-based education in a clinical course in conservative dentistry. (4/99)

The conceptual difference between a competency-based education and an education based upon a conventional dental curriculum is, perhaps, the starting point for the development of new curricula. The two systems are not, in themselves, exclusive. There is common ground to be found, and the concept of combining instruction with competency-based learning experiences is emerging in recent publications. This paper describes a competency-based approach applied to a clinical course in conservative dentistry. The learning outcomes of the fourth-year dental students in the new course were assessed using methods that included continuous clinical assessments, student presentations and peer-group reflective evaluations, patient management reviews, a clinical progress examination, the range and amount of work completed, and a written examination and viva voce. Different weightings were given to various elements of the assessment. A formal student assessment of the course rated it as being satisfactory.  (+info)

Preliminary evidence for a general competency hypothesis. (5/99)

Although predoctoral dental education is generally taught and evaluated by disciplines, there is no evidence bearing on whether the competencies necessary to begin independent practice are learned and practiced as a general set of skills, understanding, and values or as groups of discipline-specific skills, understanding, and values, which together constitute graduation competency. There is some support in the literature for each view In this preliminary investigation, 64,000 faculty ratings of student clinical competency were analyzed in a Year x Quarter x Discipline x Model design. The dependent variable was predictive validity of graduation quarter competency ratings using R-values from four prediction models. Results of a multiple repeated measures ANOVA show that models based on technical skills other than the one being predicted, clinical judgment and patient management, and the combination of these two models all predict graduation competency in each of four disciplines better than do ratings in the disciplines being predicted. As the time gap between predictive and predicted competence decreases, predictions become more accurate, but an asymptote is reached by the middle of the final clinical year. By using general models to evaluate students rather than discipline-specific ones, students needing intervention and remediation and those who could benefit from enrichment experiences can be identified as accurately at the beginning of their clinical careers as they can near the graduation deadline. This study provides preliminary support for a general competency hypothesis and suggests that research is necessary to better understand how students and dentists learn and practice rather than how they are taught.  (+info)

Preclinical restorative training. (6/99)

In conjunction with its problem-based learning curriculum, Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) developed a shortened preclinical restorative training curriculum. This study compared our curriculum with those in other dental schools and examined student reaction to it. Twenty-nine U.S. dental schools responded to a survey regarding the length of their preclinical course in Operative Dentistry. Nationally, preclinical courses ranged from 179 hours to 280 hours (mean +/- SEM = 193 +/- 9 hours; n = 29). In marked contrast, the new seventy-five-hour preclinical curriculum at Harvard was the lowest of any school, and significantly lower than the U.S. average (p < 0.01). In Harvard's previous curriculum, students spent 232 curriculum hours. Reactions of Harvard students to this compact preclinical curriculum were surveyed using a three-topic, three-category survey instrument. Results indicated that, prior to beginning clinical patient care, approximately 80 percent of students felt that the course was too short and 20 percent just right. Conversely, and retrospectively, after completing their dental school training, only 35 percent felt it was too short, and 65 percent felt it was just right. Retrospectively, in terms of clinical preparedness, 55 percent felt adequately prepared and 35 percent felt well prepared to treat their patients. No significant change was noted between Part II National Board scores following the change to the reduced curricula time. The average National Board Part II scores prior to initiating the new curriculum was 86.3, and afterwards, it was 86.2. Further, for the North East Regional Board, HSDM students in the past four years demonstrated a 98 percent overall success rate with 100 percent primary pass in the operative dentistry part of the examination. These results suggest that an abbreviated preclinical training is not only possible, but may make time available for training opportunities in other areas, such as aesthetic dental procedures and new biomaterials.  (+info)

Are traditional cognitive tests useful in predicting clinical success? (7/99)

The purpose of this research was to determine the predictive value of the Dental Admission Test (DAT) for clinical success using Ackerman's theory of ability determinants of skilled performance. The Ackerman theory is a valid, reliable schema in the applied psychology literature used to predict complex skill acquisition. Inconsistent stimulus-response skill acquisition depends primarily on determinants of cognitive ability. Consistent information-processing tasks have been described as "automatic," in which stimuli and responses are mapped in a manner that allows for complete certainty once the relationships have been learned. It is theorized that the skills necessary for success in the clinical component of dental schools involve a significant amount of automatic processing demands and, as such, student performance in the clinics should begin to converge as task practice is realized and tasks become more consistent. Subtest scores of the DAT of four classes were correlated with final grades in nine clinical courses. Results showed that the DAT subtest scores played virtually no role with regard to the final clinical grades. Based on this information, the DAT scores were determined to be of no predictive value in clinical achievement.  (+info)

The utility of Canadian DAT Perceptual Ability and Carving Dexterity scores as predictors of psychomotor performance in first-year operative dentistry. (8/99)

This study sought to determine if Canadian Dental Aptitude Test Perceptual Ability (PA) and Carving Dexterity (CD) scores have any practical utility as predictors of psychomotor performance. Simple linear regression and multiple regression analyses were performed and prediction intervals plotted. Efforts were made to expand the range of the predictor and dependent variables and to improve the accuracy and consistency and prevent contamination of the dependent variables. Results for both PA and CD varied markedly across years. Weak, but statistically extremely significant, correlations were observed for both PA and CD with specific technique grades and the year-overall pooled data. PA correlations loaded on exams at the start, and CD correlations loaded on exams at the end of the year. Manual average scores exhibited the strongest correlation with year-overall technique grades, but could explain no more than 7.2 percent of observed variance. Prediction intervals for year-end grades spanned at least 38 percentage grade points for both PA and CD. Within the context of the present study, PA and CD scores demonstrated no practical utility as predictors of psychomotor performance.  (+info)