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Keywords:

  • competency;
  • dental;
  • extraction;
  • students;
  • teaching;
  • wisdom tooth

Abstract

Introduction

Wisdom tooth removal is one of the most common oral surgical procedures performed across the world. The aim of this study was to gauge the teaching and training of impacted wisdom teeth in undergraduate dental programmes across the UK. The objectives were to identify consistencies and variations in theoretical instructions and clinical training as well as approaches to management of impacted wisdom teeth.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional survey utilising an online questionnaire. A purposefully designed pro forma with open- as well as closed-ended questions was used. The questionnaire was hosted online on the school's blackboard academic suite (Emily). Prior to conducting the study, approval was gained from the Research and Ethics Committee, and all the ethical principles pertaining to data protection were strictly followed. E-mail invitations were sent to oral surgery leads in all dental schools in the UK. The participants were provided with an information sheet, and an informed consent was obtained. The participants were invited by e-mail to complete the questionnaire online voluntarily.

Results

A total of 16 dental schools offering an undergraduate course in dentistry in the UK, 13 responded positively. (response rate = 81.25%). In majority of dental schools, this subject is taught in the 4th and 5th years. A pre-clinical competency on phantom heads is a requirement in six schools, whilst only one school requires the students to pass a clinical competency. The clinical exposure of students to wisdom tooth surgery is quite variable. Although the dental schools are fairly consistent in their teaching with regard to the indications for surgical intervention, diagnostic/treatment modalities as well as the post-operative care, interesting variations were also observed.

Conclusions

This study, perhaps the first of its kind, provides useful insights into management of impacted wisdom teeth, as taught in the undergraduate dental programmes across the UK.