Background/aims: Traumatic dental injuries (TDI) are complex problems where lack of proper care may result in serious complications. The need to improve the management of TDI is a frequently addressed concern. Methods of improvement in their diagnosis and management are continuously evolving. The interactive Internet tool, the Dental Trauma Guide (DTG), helps to simplify diagnostic and management dilemmas. However, it is not a freely available tool. The aim of the current study was to assess the knowledge and diagnostic skills of undergraduate dental students with access to the DTG compared with students without such access, in order to validate and promote this tool in dental education.
Materials and methods: Two groups of students were randomly selected where one group of final year dental undergraduate students were exposed to lectures, demonstrations, discussions and tutorials on the management of TDI according to the standard undergraduate curriculum in Sri Lanka. Another test group of 21 students were provided with access to DTG during their training in paediatric dentistry. At the end of the study period, students were assessed on their knowledge of TDI using MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions) and OSCEs (Objective Structured Clinical Examination), based on the DTG.
Results: The students with access to the DTG were more knowledgeable in providing the correct answers to three out of the seven OSCE questions. Evaluation based on the MCQs did not reveal a significant difference (p = .913). However, users of the DTG showed a statistically significant difference with better overall knowledge based on their answers (p = .028). Following this period of evaluation, all of the students were provided with access to the DTG to supplement their learning experience.
Conclusion: The Dental Trauma Guide is a useful supplementary tool for undergraduate students to arrive at a correct diagnosis and treatment plan for TDI.
Keywords: dental trauma guide; knowledge; traumatic dental injuries; undergraduate teaching.
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