The Impact of a Continuing Education Oral Health Program on Providing Services for Young Children by Dentists, Dental Hygienists and Dental Assistants
Source: Journal of Dental Hygiene, Volume 85, Number 3, Summer 2011 , pp. 220-228(9)
Publisher: American Dental Hygienists' Association
Abstract:Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a 4 hour continuing education (CE) program on the oral health knowledge and behaviors of dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants in providing oral health services to young children in West Virginia general dental practices.
Methods: A free CE program was provided for 92 general dentists, 123 dental hygienists and 37 dental assistants (n=252) at 4 sites across West Virginia. Participants completed a pre– and post–test on topics including the timing of the first dental exam, fluorides, xylitol, Alternative Restorative Technique (ART) and their practice pattern of caring for children under 3 years old. A 6 month follow–up questionnaire was mailed to participants to assess outcomes.
Results: Participants showed a 22% increase in knowledge from the pre–test to the post–test (p<0.001) for all questions except for ART, which showed no change. The majority of dentists and hygienists (89%) increased their comfort in providing services for children under 3 years old. Participants (80%) stated they would increase the number of children under 3 years old they examine, yet 6 months after the program only 42% responded affirmatively (p<0.001). At the time of the program, 62% reported that they currently examine children at 1 year of age, and there was no significant change 6 months later. While 54% responded that they would contact their local physicians about early oral health care, only 27% followed through.
Conclusion: This program significantly increased the participants' knowledge and comfort level for providing infant and toddler oral health care. However, it did not motivate most to alter their practice behaviors to conform to national best practice guidelines.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Associate clinical professor and Interim Director, Division of Pediatric Dentistry, West Virginia University School of Dentistry, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA 2: Graduate student in Public Health at the time of the study and is now a dental student, West Virginia University School of Dentistry, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA 3: Registered dental hygienist, West Virginia University School of Dentistry, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA 4: Professor Emeritus of Statistics, Department of Statistics, West Virginia University School of Dentistry, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA
Publication date: Summer 2011
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