Perceptions of oral health training and attitudes toward performing oral health screenings among graduating pediatric residents.
BACKGROUND: There is a lack of access to oral health services for American children. Some propose that pediatricians be trained to deliver preventive screening and education to families until they access a dental home. However, little is known about the current oral health training provided during pediatric residency. OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the oral health training that pediatricians receive during residency and their attitudes toward performing basic oral health screenings. METHODS: The American Academy of Pediatrics Survey of Graduating Residents is an annual, randomly sampled national survey of graduating pediatric residents. The 2006 Survey of Graduating Residents surveyed 611 residents and examined their perception of their oral health training and their attitudes about performing oral health screenings. RESULTS: Thirty-five percent of residents received no oral health training during residency. Of those who did, 73% had <3 hours of training, and only 14% had clinical observation time with a dentist. Seventy-one percent felt that they had too little oral health training, and only 21% felt that their residency was very good or excellent in preparing them to perform oral health-risk assessments. Residents felt confident in their ability to offer anticipatory guidance but not to do the more technical oral health screenings. The majority of residents believed that pediatricians should conduct basic oral health screenings. Multiple regression analysis indicated that residents who received >or=3 hours of oral health training, who applied for jobs in the inner city, and whose career goal was to work in primary practice are those most likely to support this idea. CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric residents currently receive little training in oral health, and the majority wish for more. This study shows that oral health training during residency can increase pediatrician confidence in participating in important oral health promotion tasks, including anticipatory guidance, oral screenings, and oral health-risk assessment.
Caspary, G; Krol, DM; Boulter, S; Keels, MA; Romano-Clarke, G
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