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Table of Contents   
EPIDEMIOLOGICAL WORK  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 212-215
Perceptions and challenges of a first-year dental student – A cross-sectional study


1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed to be University Dental College and Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed to be University Dental College and Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Adesh Institute of Dental Sciences and Research, Bathinda, Punjab, India
4 Department of Oral Pathology, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed to be University Dental College and Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India
5 Department of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Adesh Institute of Dental Sciences and Research, Bathinda, Punjab, India
6 Private Practitioner, Bathinda Orthodontoc and Dental Clinic, Bathinda, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Submission03-May-2021
Date of Decision21-Apr-2022
Date of Acceptance14-Jun-2022
Date of Web Publication13-Oct-2022
 

   Abstract 


Introduction: Undergraduate dental training is demanding and rigorous, unaware students face a lot of challenges after entering the course. Thus, the study aims to find out from a dental sophomore the challenges they face during the first year of dental school. Methodology: An e-questionnaire study was conducted on 932 second-year Bachelor of Dental Surgery students of India. The questions help us gauge problems and hurdles faced by a dental sophomore like information related to difficulty levels, laborious nature and so on. Chi-square test is to find out relativity and association between the variables. Results: Pre-clinical prosthodontics was found the most laborious and a gender-wise significant difference (P < 0.01) was noted amongst females (437, 71.06%) and males (157, 49.53%). Conclusion: This study highlighted that students are usually unaware about the course, the type of content reading, learning, laborious nature of practical work and so on.

Keywords: Awareness, career, dental, dentistry, perception, students

How to cite this article:
Shinh MK, Kshirsagar R, Narang R, Kulkarni PV, Singh A, Kaur H. Perceptions and challenges of a first-year dental student – A cross-sectional study. Indian J Dent Res 2022;33:212-5

How to cite this URL:
Shinh MK, Kshirsagar R, Narang R, Kulkarni PV, Singh A, Kaur H. Perceptions and challenges of a first-year dental student – A cross-sectional study. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Nov 29];33:212-5. Available from: https://www.ijdr.in/text.asp?2022/33/2/212/358450



   Introduction Top


India has tremendous potential for dental surgeons as the dentist-to-patient ratio in India is abysmal as compared to other developed countries around the world.[1],[2] The students who opt for dentistry as a profession are absolutely unaware of the kind of course of study.[3] When first-year subjects alone related to dental sciences come into play, the students are taken aback.

Meeting the deadlines of submissions, settling in new environment, adapting to new language and culture, and coming from different places are major hurdles faced by the freshers. The very motive of this study was to find out whether the students who enter this course were aware about dentistry as a subject and the amount of labour it needs. Many students in the current scenario were students who were Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery aspirants but landed up pursuing Bachelor of Dental Surgery as they didn't want to waste their year or opt for a drop year. This study was conducted to gauge as to why this was happening? Therefore, it aims to find out from a dental sophomore the challenges they face when they enter the course and their perceptions about the degree.


   Material and Methods Top


A cross-sectional study was conducted through Google forms from August 2018 to September 2019. Sample population included second-year dental students who gave their consent and who had android phones were included in the study.

The questionnaire consisted of 31 questions. The objective questions included questions that would help us gauge problems and hurdles faced by a dental sophomore like information related to difficulty levels, laborious nature, and attention span required for various subjects; however, the subjective questions were attached at the end of the survey, which inquired from the students their suggestions regarding how first year of dentistry be made into a more pleasant learning experience keeping in mind the basics of the academics.

The questionnaire was validated by a team of experts. Ethical clearance was obtained from the institution (ESR/328/Inst/MH/2016).

This e-questionnaire was distributed amongst the dental students through a WhatsApp link via their class representatives of different colleges. The second-year dental students were explained the purpose of this study. A period of 15 days was given to the students to complete the proforma. Only complete proformas were included in the study. A total of 1,200 participants were sent the e-survey, out of which 1,020 responded and 88 being incomplete were excluded from the analysis making a total of 932 samples.

Inferential statistics were used and data were tabulated and analysed using the Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS Version 24 for Windows). Analysis was performed with Chi-square test to find out relativity and association between the variables. P value was considered to be statistically significant if it was <0.05 and highly significant if it was <0.001.


   Results Top


Out of the 932 responses that the questionnaire received, there were 615 females and 317 males.

The descriptive analysis showed that 53.7% of the total sample size was not aware about the dental-related subjects of first year. From the remaining 46.3% students, 25.2% had prior knowledge about oral anatomy and histology as subject of first year, whereas merely 7.1% had knew about dental materials as a subject.

When asked about the subject which requires artistic and needs skills, 50.9% felt tooth carving being artistic, 38.2% felt pre-clinical prosthodontics as artistic, whereas only 8.1% students felt pre-clinical operative dentistry being artistic.

Majority of the students (75.8%) felt pre-clinical prosthodontics as most laborious, 17.1% felt tooth carving, whereas only 3.2% felt pre-clinical operative as most laborious.

Majority of the students (83.2%) felt that oral anatomy and histology were the least relatable to 11th and 12th grade. Around 71.5% students' self-confidence was affected as they could not grasp their practical work and couldn't meet their deadlines which made them doubt opting dentistry as a career choice.

[Table 1] shows information like whether the students were generally aware of the subjects they were going to encounter in their first year of the course showed that 419 females (68.13%) and 152 male responses (47.95%) had a positive response regards to their expectation of anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry being a subject in first year (P = 0.007) and their awareness regarding studying human anatomy in dentistry (P = 0.02). It was observed that physiology and biochemistry were the most convenient to grasp which was statistically significant (P = 0.03), whereas anatomy was a bit tiresome. Out of the few dental subjects that were introduced in first year, pre-clinical prosthodontics was found the most laborious and a gender-wise significant difference (P < 0.01) was noted amongst females (437, 71.06%) and males (157, 49.53%). Around 68.7% felt that irregular attendance of a particular lecture topic hampered understanding of the topic.
Table 1: Distribution of responses according to gender (N-based upon max. responses to a particular choice option)

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Only 17.1% students had a dentist in immediate family and this significantly influences opting for dentistry as a choice of career (P = 0.009). Significant difference was observed gender wise regarding settlement in new environment (P < 0.01). Hesitation to interact was observed in 42.7% of the students, whereas those who interacted felt physiologically better and the gender-wise difference was found to be significant (P < 0.01). Majority of females (96.59%) and around 64.04% of males attended orientation programme conducted by the institute at the start of the session and the difference was found to be statically significant (P = 0.006).

[Table 2] shows distribution of response with respect to history of dentist in family. This factor helped them having a significant prior knowledge of the subjects (P = 0.001) and agreeing that tooth carving needed more artistic skills (P = 0.001).
Table 2: Distribution of response with respect to history of dentist in family

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   Discussion Top


The second-year students were the focus group of this study as they were mature enough to gauge what went wrong in first year, also as the memory of first-year dentistry was fresh in their minds.

Out of the total sample of 932 respondents, there were 615 females (68.13%) and 317 male (47.95%) responses. A huge gap was seen gender wise in the persuasion of this profession. Females generally tend to take up dentistry as a profession because they have the natural ability of fostering relationships and tend to handle things delicately in a sensitive way.[4] Another popular observation according to Indian sociology is that a woman usually pursues dentistry for matrimonial purposes to get a suitable match and limits their working hours after marriage.[5]

Opting dentistry as a career choice in the present study showed that this decision was highly influenced by a dentist in the immediate family or a relative. In a similar study conducted on orthodontic post-graduate students, it showed that 51.1% students out of the total sample population were inspired by an orthodontist.[6] Another study that was conducted in the Auckland region of New Zealand reported that family and cultural customs influenced students to study medicine.[7] The study results strongly indicate that how a childhood perception can develop into an action in the adult stage.

Pre-clinical prosthodontics is a subject that drains the energy of a student completely and it was found to be the most laborious and demanding. The students went low on confidence levels when they could not perform their work up to the mark and finish their deadlines as per the current study. Similar results were seen in Nigerian dental students[3] and Shetty et al.[8] This really does tell us a lot about the nature and the intricacy of the course of dentistry as to how tiring it can get if one is not mentally prepared or aware of it.

The e-learning facility in this technologically advanced world is provided by almost every university. The males were seen to avail more of this facility than the females according to this survey. The results of a study conducted by He et al.[9] suggested that women are less computer-oriented than men. The probable reason is that males in general lack the seriousness and tend to complete the portion of study at last moment in which they look for shortcuts via their downloaded lectures or PowerPoint presentations.[10]

A major limitation of this study was the sample size and representation. More representative sample size should be included using exploratory study designs to know the insights of perceptions and behaviour should be used in the future for better understanding. Sample participants recommended ways to improve basic subject knowledge through visual learning facilities like 3D models, smart classes, videos, picture-based learning and so on. Frequent student–teacher interactions motivate students for better performance and boosts confidence.


   Conclusion Top


To have better skilled manpower in the profession, dentistry must be a first choice for the student and not a compulsory one. It is very important to bridge this gap that will help us to create a better, much more skilled clan of dentists which will subsequently improve many problems related to dentistry in India.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank all the subjects who willingly participated in the study.

Declaration of consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate consent forms. In the form, the student(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their information to be reported in the journal. The students understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Ofori-Attah S. Dentistry and why it is a great career. Br Dent J 2017;223:81 4.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Yadav R, Rai R. Dental education: Do we really have many graduates? Br Dent J 2016;220:219.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
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Isiekwe GI, Umezudike KA, Abah AA, Fadeju AD. Perceptions of dental students and recent dental graduates. Odontostomatol Trop 2016;39:15-23.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Narang R, Mittal L, Saha S, Aggarwal VP, Sood P, Mehra S. Empathy among dental students: A systematic review of literature. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2019;37:316-26.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
5.
Nirupama YS, Boppana NK, Vinnakota NR, Thetakala RK, Kallakuri P, Karthik BP. Indian women dentists perspectives towards balancing professional, personal and social responsibilities. Indian J Dent Res 2020;31:358-62.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
6.
Shinh AS, Guram G, Shalk JA, Kaur A, Maheswari K. Challenges encountered during post graduate programme in orthodontics: An online survey. J Indian Orthod Soc 2017;51:258-63.  Back to cited text no. 6
  [Full text]  
7.
Stowers T, Dyndon MP, Henning MA, Hill AG, Webber M. Exploring factors that motivate and influence medical students to attend medical school. Asia Pac. Scholar 2019;4:3-12.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Shetty VB, Shirahatti RV, Pawar P. Student's perceptions of their education on graduation from a dental school in India. J Dent Educ 2012;76:1920-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
He J, Freeman LA. Are men more technology oriented other than woman? The role of gender on the development of general computer self – efficiency of college students. J Inf Syst Educ 2010;21:201-12.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Hassan N, Hassan T. Female students get more marks as compared to male students: A statistical study. J Bus Fin Aff 2016;5:226.  Back to cited text no. 10
    

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Correspondence Address:
Dr. Manhar Kaur Shinh
Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed to be University Dental College and Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijdr.ijdr_402_21

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