Patient education in dental medicine: A review of the literature

Eur J Dent Educ. 2019 May;23(2):110-118. doi: 10.1111/eje.12409. Epub 2019 Jan 9.


Introduction: In dental medicine, chronic diseases and chronic conditions (such as chronic periodontitis, temporomandibular disorders, chronic orofacial pain) justify patient education to self-care. This strategy of secondary or tertiary prevention, even if officially recognised, is still less known compared to health education, a form of primary prevention. The aim of the study was to make the point of recent studies devoted to patient education. Thus, the purpose of the study was to give an updated picture of patient education in odontology, describing, through an analysis of the international literature from 2006 to 2016, its characteristics and development.

Methods: The main databases selected were: PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Sciences, DOSS, 302 articles published between 2006 and 2016 on patient education among which four RCTs and a case study were analysed because of their rigorous scientific quality.

Results: Patient education concerns chronic diseases and conditions also in the field of orthodontics. This limited number of studies, showed that patient education in odontology can bring real bio-clinic, cognitive, psychological and economic benefits to patients. Overall, it allows patients to better understand their illness and treatment and, thus, to improve their health behaviours and self-care techniques, which would reduce the treatment costs. Educational interventions in odontology should constitute a component of patient education in several chronic systemic diseases such as diabetes. It would be necessary to train future practitioners in this field and to develop a scientific research on this practice.

Keywords: dental education; dental medicine; patient education; review of literature.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Dentistry*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Education, Dental*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Self Care
  • Stomatognathic Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult