The importance of teaching communication in dental education. A survey amongst dentists, students and patients

Eur J Dent Educ. 2012 Feb;16(1):e200-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0579.2011.00698.x. Epub 2011 Jul 14.


The aim of our study was to evaluate the subjective importance of teaching communication in the dental curriculum by conducting a survey amongst dentists, students and patients. Three questionnaires about communication-related issues were developed in which different questions could be rated on a five-point Likert scale. These questions included the subjective importance of the dental team's friendliness, an elaborated consultation, modern office equipment or the dentist's technical skills. Seven hundred and twenty-nine questionnaires were completed [233 by dentists (32%), 310 by students (43%) and 185 by patients (25%)]. Eighty-seven percentage of the dentists, 84% of the students and 84% of the patients supported an integration of communicational issues in dental education; 94.7% of the dentists and 77.2% of the patients attached vital importance to the dentist-patient relationship regarding the therapeutic outcomes. Dentists with prior communicational training experience would spend significantly (P<0.001) more money for further courses. The results show the publicly perceived importance of integrating aspects of communication in dental education.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Communication*
  • Curriculum
  • Dentist-Patient Relations*
  • Dentists / psychology
  • Education, Dental / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patients / psychology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Students, Dental / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires