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Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Pediatric Dentistry


Objective: This purpose of this study was to describe pediatric medical residents' knowledge of oral health and dental-referral behavior and to examine factors that may influence whether providers can identify tooth decay, provide risk assessment or refer children to dental providers. The objective was to provide baseline data of pediatric medical residents prior to receiving the oral health education and training in the provision of preventive oral health services.Methods: This project utilized a cross-sectional prospective cohort study design. An oral health knowledge and referral behavior questionnaire was delivered to pediatric medical residents in training at two academic health centers. This project aimed to describe pediatric medical residents' knowledge of oral health and dental referral behavior as measured by the questionnaire. This study was designed to provide baseline information for a larger project called "Bright Smiles" developed by the Virginia Department of Health's Division of Dental Health. The self-administered questionnaire focused on extracting knowledge and opinions of residents and faculty in selected areas of infant oral- health services along with their confidence in providing these services. Results: The frequency of dental examinations correlated with how often providers see tooth decay in infants and toddlers. The frequency of examining for signs of dental decay was correlated with confidence in detecting tooth decay. The frequency of assessing the potential for developing tooth decay in infants and toddlers was correlated with the providers' confidence in evaluating risk of tooth decay. All above findings were correlated to a statistically significant value. Conclusion: Providers, while able to identify tooth decay in infants and toddlers, lack confidence in the ability to refer children to dental providers and the ability to perform certain aspects of oral-health risk assessment.


Part of Retrospective ETD Collection, restricted to VCU only.


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Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008