The Status of Digital Dental Technology Implementation in the Saudi Dental Schools' Curriculum: A National Cross-Sectional Survey for Healthcare Digitization

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Dec 25;20(1):321. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20010321.

Abstract

Objective: The primary objective of this cross-sectional national study was to investigate the status of digital dental technology (DDT) adoption in Saudi Arabian undergraduate dental education. A secondary objective was to explore the impact of dental schools' funding sources to incorporate digital technologies. Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to the chairpersons of prosthetic sciences departments of the 27 dental schools in Saudi Arabia. If any department chairman failed to respond to the survey, a designated full-time faculty member was contacted to fill out the form. The participants were asked about the school's sector, DDT implementation in the curriculum, implemented level, their perceptions of the facilitators and challenges for incorporating DDT. Results: Of the 27 dental schools (18 public and 8 private), 26 responded to the questionnaire (response rate: 96.3%). The geographic distribution of the respondent schools was as follows: 12 schools in the central region, 6 in the western region, and 8 in other regions. Seventeen schools secure and preserve patients' records using electronic software, whereas nine schools use paper charts. Seventeen schools (64,4%) implemented DDT in their curricula. The schools that did not incorporate DDT into their undergraduate curricula were due to not being included in the curriculum (78%), lack of expertise (66%), untrained faculty and staff (44%), and cost (33%). Conclusions: This national study showed that digital components still need to be integrated into Saudi Arabian dental schools' curricula and patient care treatment. Additionally, there was no association between funding sources and the DDT implementation into the current curricula. Consequently, Saudi dental schools must emphasize the implementation and utilization of DDT to align with Saudi Vision 2030 for healthcare digitization and to graduate competent dentists in digital dental care.

Keywords: CAD-CAM; curriculum; dental education; dental technology; digital dentistry; intraoral scanner.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Curriculum
  • DDT
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Digital Technology*
  • Education, Dental
  • Humans
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Schools, Dental*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Technology, Dental

Substances

  • DDT

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.