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Oral Health Prev Dent. 2010;8(2):117-24.

Overcoming barriers to tobacco cessation counselling in dental students.

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Department of Restorative Dentistry and Comprehensive Care, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.



Tobacco use screening and brief intervention is recognised as an effective available preventive health service; yet, this service is still not routinely offered to dental patients by clinicians, despite dental schools generally providing some form of tobacco cessation counselling (TCC) by including it in their dental curriculum. A pilot study was therefore carried out to more clearly identify barriers that prevented the delivery of this service to tobacco-using patients at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine and educational initiatives that might overcome these barriers.


A survey of faculty and students asked participants to rank their knowledge, preparation and comfort levels in performing TCC as well as their belief as to the importance of such training in the dental curriculum. Six months following training and practice opportunities, surveys were again administered to participants. Each individual's pre- and post-TCC training surveys were reviewed and difference in response to each item was calculated.


The results of the present study show that students feel more prepared, that the time required to provide TCC was less than anticipated and that training in TCC is an important part of dental education to a greater extent after the pilot study than before.


TCC training and practice opportunities for clinical application were effective in this pilot study in improving students' attitudes towards cited barriers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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