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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 31-35

Do didactics improve clinical skills: A retrospective educational study

Department of Endodontics, Texas A&M University College of Dentistry, Dallas, TX, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Poorya Jalali
Department of Endodontics, Texas A&M University College of Dentistry, 3302 Gaston Ave, Dallas, TX 75246
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sej.sej_49_20

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Introduction: As predoctoral dental students navigate through the dental curriculum, the knowledge of clinical dentistry is progressively gained from didactic lecture courses. The goal of this study was to evaluate whether there is an association between endodontic didactic knowledge and endodontic preclinical skills. Methods: The study utilized the existing preclinical endodontic assessments of 2nd-year dental students (105 students). Using ExamSoft, the nonclinical questions (e.g., microbiology and pulp biology) were excluded from the final didactic assessment, and a new didactic grade was calculated and assigned to each student. Each endodontic skill (access preparation, instrumentation and obturation, and combined) was matched with corresponding clinically related questions in the didactic assessment. For each student, the matched didactic grade was weighted against the practical grade using Kendall's τ correlation coefficient. To determine the effect of each predictor variable (didactic score and gender), an ordinal logistic regression was used. Results: For all portions of the examination, the correlation between preclinical and didactic grades was significant, P < 0.05, but weak. Regression analysis showed that the didactic grade coefficient was significant for access, instrumentation and obturation, and combined portions of the examination. The student's gender coefficient was not significant for any portion of the examination. Conclusion: Only a weak association was found between didactic performance and preclinical skills. Lectures on clinical topics should be improved and sequenced accordingly to better link the theory of endodontic technique to the hands-on simulation laboratory.

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