Objectives: A national questionnaire study was performed to document knowledge and opinions of French dental students (FDSs) about minimal intervention (MI) in dentistry especially caries risk assessment (CRA) and dental sealants (DSs).
Materials and methods: A questionnaire was administered to the fifth-year dental FDSs (n = 1370) from the 16 French dental schools. Descriptive and statistical analyses were performed.
Results: The response rate was 84.5%. A large majority of respondents (87.8%) linked MI with minimally invasive dentistry and 77.4% considered MI as a concept based on prevention. About 80% stated they use CRA in clinical practice, mostly without any specific form. If 80.4% of the respondents would base their treatment plans on CRA, only 55.1% would regularly plan preventive regimens according to individual risk level. However, while 96.6% declared they perform preventive DSs, only 44.3% considered therapeutic sealants as a routine treatment. Although 75.1% of FDSs stated that they had sufficient learning and training related to CRA, 55.9% thought that they need further education about preventive and therapeutic DSs.
Conclusion: Although FDSs seem to be aware of the importance of CRA and preventive strategies, this study shows the need to harmonize the teaching in cariology according to the latest European recommendations.
Clinical relevance: A national questionnaire study showed variability towards knowledge and opinions of FDSs related to MI in cariology. This may impact care provisions in their future professional life showing the urgent need to harmonize the teaching of MI in cariology in France.
Keywords: Caries risk assessment; Dental sealants; Dental students; Minimal intervention dentistry; Questionnaire survey.