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Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 1999 Oct;116(4):444-51.

Recognition of malocclusion: an education outcomes assessment.


The purpose of this study was to assess the outcome of predoctoral orthodontic dental education in an American dental school. A test was used that measured the clinical abilities of dental students in the diagnosis of malocclusion in children, as well as their didactic abilities in answering select questions from recent national board examinations in orthodontics. The records of 7 children with different types of malocclusion were selected from the practice of a board-certified orthodontist. These cases were presented to dental students who were asked to make diagnoses and recommendations for treatment. The results of the didactic and clinical tests were used to assess the outcome of the predoctoral dental curriculum in imparting orthodontic knowledge to future general dentists. Didactic knowledge increased over the 4 years of dental education. First year students answered 30% of the questions correctly, whereas fourth year students answered 59% correctly. The relationship between clinical diagnostic skills and dental education, however, was not as strong. The fourth year students answered 70% of questions concerning the 7 cases correctly. These results indicate that fourth year dental students demonstrated only slight improvement compared with first year students, who answered 65% of the questions correctly. Thus, this study indicated that orthodontic diagnostic skills, as measured by the clinical test used, did not improve substantially during 4 years of undergraduate dental education.

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