Dr. Katsaros is Clinical Assistant Professor of Periodontics, The University of Iowa College of Dentistry & Dental Clinics; Dr. Allareddy is Brodie Craniofacial Endowed Chair and Professor of Orthodontics, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry; and Dr. Elangovan is Professor of Periodontics, The University of Iowa College of Dentistry & Dental Clinics. [Email]
The aim of this study was to assess nationwide trends in the exposure of dental students to periodontal and implant surgical procedures and to evaluate the potential factors that influence these clinical experiences. A 19-item questionnaire was sent to all 64 directors of predoctoral periodontics in U.S. dental schools. In addition to gathering information on the percentage of students who perform surgical periodontics or implant placement procedures in each program, data on student research groups, periodontics residency programs, and periodontics faculty practices were collected. A total of 33 responses were received, for a response rate of 51.5%. Among the responding institutions, 97% and 45.5% allowed dental students to perform periodontal and dental implant placement surgeries, respectively, although only 26.4% and 15.2% of the dental class ended up performing periodontal and dental implant placement surgeries, respectively. Crown lengthening was the most commonly reported (84.8%) periodontal surgical procedure performed by dental students. A negative correlation was found between the presence of a periodontics residency program and dental students' placing dental implants, while the size of the residency program positively correlated with dental students' placing dental implants. Overall, a wide variation in the exposure of dental students to periodontal and dental implant placement surgical experiences was found. Future surveys should assess clinical procedures performed in other special-ties to gain a broader picture of the experience students are gaining in these areas.