Assessment and Hands-on training of Senior Dental Students in Infant Oral health and knee-to-knee examinations in an early head start program

Zeitz, Carolynn, and Salwa Atwan

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that infants have an established dental home by 12 months of age. All Primary health care professionals who serve mothers and infants should provide parent/caregiver education on the etiology and prevention of early childhood caries (ECC).

Purpose: To assess fourth year dental students’ knowledge of infant oral health (IOH) a “hands-on, rotation” at an Early Head Start facility and to evaluate the effectiveness of the “hands-on, rotation” as a teaching method for infant oral health.

Methods: Students  were given an assessment in the form of a questionnaire, which they completed prior and post their clinical rotation at the facility.  Participants completed the pre-rotation questionnaire ,which is consisted of seven multiple choice items and four short answers items, immediately after , they watched a video which is designed as an educational intervention source for infant oral health, and perform an infant knee to knee examination.  Upon completion of the rotation students were given a post questionnaire and feedback form to complete 

Results: Compared to usual teaching methods, 90% of the students found that they learned more with this rotation. After completing the rotation 93% were more willing to perform infant oral examination upon graduation .  The questionnaire scores increased to 96% correct post rotation in contrast to 80% prior to the rotation. Senior dental students reported their comfort level in examination of an infant changed from difficult to easy/somewhat easy; which shows in their request for more involvement in prevention and treatment of an infant.