Perceived competency towards preventive dentistry among dental graduates: the need for curriculum change
Background: A previous study has shown that dental practitioners in Benghazi believed that the less prevention-oriented education system is one of the barriers to applying preventive dentistry.
Objective: To assess attitudes and perceived competence of the dental graduates in Benghazi towards prevention and early management of dental caries.
Methods: A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey was conducted among internship students attending the Department of Community and Preventive Dentistry in Faculty of Dentistry, Benghazi, Libya. The participants were asked to provide demographic information, to respond to statements about their attitudes towards preventive dentistry, and to answer questions regarding their perceived competence in applying preventive dentistry procedures.
Results: Data from 108 Libyan dental graduates were analysed for this study, of which 64% of them were females and 42.1% of them passed their final year with grade: acceptable. The most acknowledged aspects of preventive dentistry were being useful and essential to the community (95.4 and 90.8%, respectively). The percentage of participants expressing a proficiency in providing oral hygiene instructions was the highest (95.4%). There were differences between study subgroups in their perceived competence of preventive dental practices by gender and academic performance (p50.05).
Conclusion: This study highlighted that the currently implemented undergraduate education programme in Benghazi dental school does not provide dentists with the required attitude and skills to fulfil their role in providing preventive-oriented health services.
Keywords: dentistry; perceived competency; prevention; attitude; dental graduates