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Assessing dental education and practices regarding patients with special needs: A pilot study proposal

Steel, Eleanor (2015) Assessing dental education and practices regarding patients with special needs: A pilot study proposal. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Patients with developmental disabilities experience significantly higher rates of poor oral hygiene and tooth decay than their peers in the general population. Many factors contribute to the poor oral health and health inequity including access to dental care and dentists not being willing to treat patients with special needs. Increasing providers is one way to address lack of access, a far-reaching issue with public health relevance. Research has shown that the more confident and comfortable dentists are in treating patients with special needs, the more patients they will treat. Because confidence and comfort levels are directly correlated to quality of dental education regarding patients with special needs, dental schools have the ability to increase dental providers willing to see patients with special needs on a regular basis. While all dental schools are required to instruct students about dental care for patients with special needs, high levels of variability exist in the number of hours students receive instruction as well as the type of experience (didactic, clinical, or community outreach). In order to better understand the factors that lead to new graduates seeing patients with special needs, a pilot program is necessary to establish what type of experience and how much of it is necessary to inspire graduates with enough confidence to treat patients with special needs. Surveys addressing dental education and recent graduates’ behavior in treating patients with special needs in their practice will serve as the initial step in addressing this concern. Data will confirm the relationship between education received and graduate behavior, elaborating and clarifying on a trend noticed in past research. By finding an area that directly impacts providers and access to care for the underserved population, adjustments can be made to this important public health problem.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Steel, Eleanor
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFinegold, Daviddnf@pitt.eduDNFUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberRubin, Richardrrubin@pitt.eduRRUBINUNSPECIFIED
Date: 16 April 2015
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Multidisciplinary MPH
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: No
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2015 23:30
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2023 11:56


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