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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 368-372

Dental laser education and knowledge among students from dental colleges of Mumbai and Pune City: A questionnaire study


1 Dental Surgeon (Private Practice), Panacea Dental Clinic, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, HKDET'S Dental College, Hospital and Research Institute, Humnabad, Karnataka, India
3 Intern, Government Dental College and Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication13-Dec-2017

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Gulam Anwar Naviwala
Assistant Professor, 58/60, Mustafa Manzil, 402, 2nd Peerkhan Street, Nagpada, Mumbai - 400 008, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jiaphd.jiaphd_75_17

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  Abstract 

Introduction: Lasers in dentistry are considered to be a new technology which is being used in clinical dentistry to overcome some of the drawbacks posed by the conventional dental procedures. Aim: This study aims to assess dental laser education and knowledge among students from dental colleges of Mumbai and Pune city. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 150 randomly selected dental students from four dental colleges of Mumbai and Pune city using a questionnaire. Results: All the 150 participants knew what dental laser was, but when asked about the practical experience, only 10 (6.7%) participants had previous dental laser practice experience. Around 126 (84%) participants agreed that both theoretical and practical laser education is needed. Lack of clinical experience (35.3%) followed by lack of knowledge (25.1%) and price of laser unit (22.5%) were the main reasons for the lack of use of dental lasers according to the study participants. Conclusion: Undergraduate dental students had inadequate laser education and insufficient knowledge regarding dental lasers. More education about dental lasers should be added to the curriculum of undergraduate program since it is highly essential for students to know about newer technologies and apply it in their practice.

Keywords: Awareness, dental education, dental students, lasers


How to cite this article:
Kadam SR, Naviwala GA, Panchal AM, Shastri Nishtala SS, Pardeshi VR. Dental laser education and knowledge among students from dental colleges of Mumbai and Pune City: A questionnaire study. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2017;15:368-72

How to cite this URL:
Kadam SR, Naviwala GA, Panchal AM, Shastri Nishtala SS, Pardeshi VR. Dental laser education and knowledge among students from dental colleges of Mumbai and Pune City: A questionnaire study. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Nov 26];15:368-72. Available from: https://www.jiaphd.org/text.asp?2017/15/4/368/220720


  Introduction Top


Lasers in dentistry are considered to be a new technology which is being used in clinical dentistry to overcome some of the drawbacks posed by the conventional dental procedures. This technology was first used for dental application in the 1960s, but its use has increased rapidly in the last few decades. Today, the laser technology is used in the compact disc players, as a pointer for lecturer, and above all in the medical and dental field. The use of laser technology and its advancements in the field of medicine and dentistry is playing a major role in patient care and well-being.[2] A range of lasers are now available for use in dentistry. Earlier it was considered as a complex technology with limited uses in clinical dentistry. Currently, there is a growing awareness of the usefulness of lasers in the armamentarium of the modern dental practice, where they can be used as an adjunct or alternative to traditional approaches.[3]

Due to the rapid evolution of lasers in dentistry, many students lack practical and theoretical knowledge in this field. Iacopino said that most new practitioners are tempted to use only those technologies in their daily practice with which they have worked and learned about during their dental training.[4] Hence, the dental students should be well trained to use these new technologies. The aim of this study was to determine the dental laser education and knowledge among students from dental colleges of Mumbai and Pune city.


  Materials and Methods Top


A descriptive study was conducted among dental students in Mumbai and Pune city, India. Informed consent was obtained before the distribution of questionnaire. The study protocol was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board.

The study population comprised all the final year dental students and interns studying in different dental colleges of Mumbai and Pune city. Considering the population size as 2000, power of the study as 80% and a design effect of 1, a sample size of 130 was derived. However, an additional 10% were included in the study (n = 143 [rounded off to 150]) to compensate for potential refusals. There are six dental colleges in Mumbai and 4 dental colleges in Pune city, out of which two colleges were selected from Mumbai and two colleges from Pune city randomly. Half of the study samples were selected from Mumbai (i.e., 75) by two investigators and the other half from Pune city by two investigators. The students were requested to assemble in a lecture hall, and a random selection was done.

A self-administered questionnaire consisting of 13 questions was given to the dental students who participated in the study. The information collected by the questionnaire included the demographic details such as gender and year of education and questions to assess dental laser education and knowledge.

The content validity was assessed by a panel of six experts of dental educators. The purpose was to depict those items with a high degree of agreement among experts. Aiken's V was used to quantify the concordance between experts for each item. The Aiken's V values thus obtained were 0.88. The panel of experts recommended modifying the wording of some questions. To assess the reliability of questions, similar questions were grouped and Cronbach's alpha was calculated. The correlations between the items ranged from 0.77 to 0.83. All the questions were retained with a slight modification in the wordings of few questions as per the expert's recommendations.

The present study was scheduled to extend for 2 months (i.e., January–February 2017). The schedule was designed allowing the flexibility to accommodate any unforeseen circumstances. The data were collected from the dental students by using the questionnaire. The study was done in the working hours of the dental colleges so as to get the maximum response. In the questionnaire form, the respondents were informed about the aim of the study as well as the fact that participation in the study was totally voluntary and anonymous.

The responses were coded and entered into Microsoft Excel and analyzed using IBM SPSS statistics 20.0 (IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY, USA). Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were carried out in the present study. Results on categorical measurements were presented in number (%). Level of significance was fixed at P = 0.05 and any value ≤0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. Chi-square analysis was used to find the significance of study parameters on categorical scale.


  Results Top


A total of 150 dental students participated in the study. The response rate was 100%. Out of total 150 students, 53 (35.3%) were males and 97 (64.7%) were females. Furthermore, 75 students each were selected from final year and internship [Table 1]. All the 150 (100%) participants knew what dental laser was, but when asked about dental laser practice experience, only 10 (6.7%) had such experience. Diode (23.3%) was the most commonly known dental laser followed by CO2 (22.4%). When asked about views regarding safety protocol of dental lasers, around 102 (45.1%) agreed that skin and eye should be protected when using lasers.
Table 1: Demographic characteristics of the study participants (n=150)

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Around 141 (94%) participants felt the need of more dental laser education. Lack of clinical experience (35.3%) followed by lack of knowledge (25.1%) and price of laser unit (22.5%) were the main reasons for lack of use of dental lasers [Table 2]. More final year students (82.7%) agreed about the use of lasers on both hard and soft tissues when compared to interns (73.3%), and this was found to be significant using Chi-square test (P = 0.041) [Table 3]. When asked about the type of dental laser education that is needed, around 89.3% interns agreed on both theoretical and practical in comparison to 78.7% of final years, and this was found to be significant using Chi-square test (P = 0.023) [Table 4].
Table 2: Distribution of study participants based on the responses to the questionnaire (n=150)

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Table 3: Comparison of responses to the question (dental laser is used on?) by final year students and interns

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Table 4: Comparison of responses to the question (which type of dental laser education is needed?) by final year students and interns

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  Discussion Top


The introduction of lasers represents a big turning point in dentistry, and now, a lot of procedures are performed using different types of lasers. Nowadays, lasers are incorporated into the daily practice.[5] Adequate education on newer dental technologies, theoretically and practically, provides sufficient knowledge needed for students to utilize the newer dental technologies in their practice. Education given at dental college is most important for a student as it is the main source of knowledge that every student relies on and their understanding of the subject depends on the information provided by their institution.[6] This study was conducted on 150 dental students to determine their dental laser education and knowledge.

In the present study, all the 150 (100%) participants knew what dental laser was. This finding is comparable to a study conducted by Bordea et al. which reported that 94.98% of the study participants knew what dental laser was.[7] It is also comparable to a study conducted by Jayashree and Radhika which reported that 78% students knew what laser was, but only 2% had previous dental laser experience.[8] Diode (23.3%) was the most commonly known dental laser followed by CO2 (22.4%). Our study is in accordance with the research carried out by Kravitz and Kusnoto, who indicated that erbium and diode laser are the two most popular types of lasers that are used in dentistry.[9] When asked about the views regarding the safety protocol of dental laser, around 102 (45.1%) of the respondents knew that skin and eyes should be protected when using lasers. In a study conducted by Jayashree and Radhika, 48% had similar views about safety protocols.[8] Furthermore, 127 (84.7%) participants agreed that laser technique is more comfortable when compared to conventional technique, and this finding was similar to the study conducted by Bordea et al. which reported that 94% participants agreed that laser technique is more comfortable.[7]

In the present study, 84% students needed both theoretical and practical dental laser education. This is in accordance with the research carried out by Bordea et al. in which the answer to the question regarding if they need dental laser lectures indicated that 160 (73.06%) respondents need theoretical and practical courses.[7] Lack of clinical experience (35.3%) followed by lack of knowledge (25.1%) were the main reasons for the lack of use of dental lasers. These findings were similar to the ones reported by Bordea et al. wherein the students chose the lack of lectures in the field of laser in dentistry associated with the lack of knowledge to be the principal reason for the lack of use of dental lasers.[7] Majority of the students (74.7%) responded a “no” when asked whether the dental faculty educates them efficiently on dental lasers.
Figure 1: Flow diagram of sampling selection and total number of participants included in the study

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Laser units are available at many colleges; however, they are only accessible for faculties and postgraduate students. Dental students should get trained with newer technologies available as there are advancements in technology to benefit dentists and the patients and the training at their institution can only help them in their practice. Nowadays, the number of dentists who are adopting laser technology in their practice is rapidly increasing, and the number of companies that are manufacturing and advertising different dental lasers is also increasing, and most importantly, a growing number of patients are beginning to learn about laser and its application; therefore, they seek dentists where lasers are used for treatment procedures. Dental colleges are responsible for educating the students about new technologies. Especially considering the high cost of dental education, incorporating new technologies into the curriculum gives students a greater return on their academic investment, one that will ultimately affect their future practices and patient care.[10]

As demonstrated by Iacopino and Masella and Thompson, incorporating learning experiences that provide students with greater exposure to research and evidence-based practice represents an emerging area of educational reform that has been negatively perceived by most dental faculty. These approaches make the new science available to a large population of students and clinical faculty who may be motivated to apply new knowledge and technologies to patient care. As additional institutions adopt some of these approaches, this will stimulate further changes in dental education. In addition, at the very least, this curricular approach will enlarge individual's point of view, giving them the possibility to understand the value of new science to the dental profession. New curricular models will need to address the interdisciplinary integration of new science within the broad oral health environment.[4],[11]

The limitation of the present study is that it was a cross-sectional study conducted on a small sample; hence, the results cannot be generalized as the teaching patterns differ among various universities across India. The Dental Council of India which is responsible for the maintenance of education standards for the dental degree in India should include dental laser education (theory and practical) in the initial years of BDS curriculum.


  Conclusion Top


This study showed that all the participants knew what dental laser was, but when asked about dental laser practice experience, only a few had such experience. Most of them agreed that laser technique is more comfortable when compared to conventional technique. Majority of the students needed both theoretical and practical dental laser education. Furthermore, they felt that the dental faculty does not educate them efficiently on dental lasers. The field of dentistry is changing in terms of new technologies; hence, students should stay updated with all the latest technologies in this field. The results of this study suggest that the undergraduate dental students had inadequate laser education and insufficient knowledge regarding dental lasers. More education about dental lasers should be added to the curriculum of undergraduate program since it is highly essential for students to know about newer technologies and apply it in their practice.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
Aoki A, Sasaki KM, Watanabe H, Ishikawa I. Lasers in nonsurgical periodontal therapy. Periodontol 2000 2004;36:59-97.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
David CM, Gupta P. Lasers in dentistry: A review. Int J Adv Health Sci 2015;2:7-13.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Walsh LJ. The current status of laser applications in dentistry. Aust Dent J 2003;48:146-55.  Back to cited text no. 3
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4.
Iacopino A. The influence of “new science” on dental education: Current concepts, trends, and models for the future. J Dent Educ 2007;71:450-22.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Dansie CO, Park JH, Makin IR. Training and use of lasers in postgraduate orthodontic programs in the United States and Canada. J Dent Educ 2013;77:773-81.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]    
6.
Autio-Gold JT, Tomar SL. Dental students' opinions and knowledge about caries management and prevention. J Dent Educ 2008;72:26-31.  Back to cited text no. 6
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7.
Bordea R, Lucaciu O, Campian RS. Student's knowledge and opinion regarding the need of implementation of Lasers in Dental Faculty curriculum. HVM Bioflux 2016;8:157-60.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Jayashree RS, Radhika AK. Dental laser education and knowledge among final year dental students at Saveetha dental college – A questionnaire study. Int J Adv Res 2015;3:556-61.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Kravitz ND, Kusnoto B. Soft-tissue lasers in orthodontics: An overview. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2008;133:S110-4.  Back to cited text no. 9
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10.
Brownstein SA, Murad A, Hunt RJ. Implementation of new technologies in U.S. Dental school curricula. J Dent Educ 2015;79:259-64.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Masella RS, Thompson TJ. Dental education and evidence-based educational best practices: Bridging the great divide. J Dent Educ 2004;68:1266-71.  Back to cited text no. 11
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