Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Julie Coe


Purpose: In 2011, Clinical Service-Learning (DENS 762) became a formal university-designated course required to all senior dental students at VCU School of Dentistry. The interest of this study was to measure students' experience in treating pediatric patients and to determine the effect the course had on students' self-perceived confidence in treating the pediatric population. Methods: This was an observational study of the VCU class of 2012 who were enrolled in the clinical service-learning class. Following their service-learning rotations, fourth-year dental students were surveyed about their experiences on their service-learning rotation. Out of 105 students, 76 completed the survey. Results: The majority of students (55%) who completed the survey felt more confident in treating the pediatric dental population. Increase in confidence was not associated with demographic factors of the students. Placement of sealants (p-value = 0.0022) and experience in local anesthesia (p-value = 0.0008) were the two factors most strongly associated with students’ increase in confidence. Compared to their school-based pediatric rotation, students received more experience in pulp therapy, extractions and treating children 0-3 years old during service-learning rotation. Conclusion: This study concludes that greater exposure to pediatric dental experiences during a service-learning rotation increased students’ confidence in treating the pediatric population at VCU School of Dentistry. Service-learning rotation can be a good supplement for the school’s pediatric dental rotation and has the potential to increase dental students' willingness to treat the pediatric population once they graduate.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013

Included in

Dentistry Commons