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Geriatric dentistry, perception about geriatric, dental students, geriatric patients
Background: Regular visits to the health care providers can develop a relationship that can extend beyond the physical health alone as the patient is transiting towards older age, adapting to changes in physical health, emotional health, and social connections. Apart from limiting access to health care services, the attitudes, beliefs, comfort level of the treating doctors towards the geriatric patients can motivate or demotivate them to access dental care.
Aims: To explore the Saudi Arabian undergraduate student’s perception of geriatric patients' and identify potential barriers that prevent the utilization of their dental appointment.
Methods: A close-ended questionnaire with one question and eight reasons was administered to the 5th year clinical students. The students were requested to specify their agreement with each question on 5 points Likert scale. Among the barriers presented, each reason's approval was expressed as the percentage of the total number of responses. In addition, the gender comparison of mean scores was made, and an independent sample t-test was used to analyze the statements agreed by the students. All analyses were performed using SPSS (Statistical Package of Social Sciences) version 21.0 (IBM, USA) with the probability of statistical significance at 0.05 level.
Results: Fifty-one students recorded their perceptions on the questionnaire administered during their clinical posting in the fifth year of the geriatric dental education program. It was concluded that students believed that geriatric patients give overwhelming importance to other problems with minor importance to oral health care. In addition, gender comparison was more evident as the percentage expressed was more in females.
Conclusion: There is a need for more clinical exposure of geriatric patients during their clinical postings. Student’s acquaintance with didactic and clinical settings appears to be a critical element towards positive knowledge and attitude towards the geriatric population.
Keywords: Geriatric dentistry, perception about geriatric, dental students, geriatric patients
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