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Knowledge of Orthodontics as a Dental Specialty: A Preliminary Survey among LASUCOM Students


Adegbite KO, Ogunbanjo BO, Ajisafe OA, Adeniyi AA

Background: Awareness of malocclusion and the need to make corrections has increasingly becomes prevalent among our population. However, very few patients have presented in the orthodontic clinics with referrals from medical practitioners, an indication that the primary caregivers may be deficient in the knowledge of orthodontic practice. Objective: To assess the knowledge of orthodontics and the awareness of the effects of malocclusion on the general wellbeing, among medical students at the Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM). Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted using a self-administered questionnaire. A total of 85 medical students in the institution participated in the study. Data entry and analysis was done using Epi info version 3.5. Frequency counts were generated for all variables and measures of central tendency for numerical variables. Results: All participants were medical students. Majority (75.3%) were in their clinical years while 24.7% were in their preclinical years. Only 45.9% of the respondents had heard of the term “orthodontics” and only 20% correctly answered that orthodontics involves malocclusion and its management. Concerning the treatment procedures used in orthodontic clinics, 54.1% of them selected rearrangement of teeth. When asked to identify the appliances used in orthodontics, 49.4% selected dentures, 40% selected removable appliances, and 57.7% selected braces. Most of the respondents (81.2%) agreed that as medical doctors they would refer patients for orthodontic care, while 3.5% were undecided and 15.3% disagreed. Conclusion: The medical students surveyed had limited knowledge of orthodontics as a specialty and also knew very little about the impact of malocclusion on the well-being of the individual. They would, therefore, benefit from basic education in orthodontics to stimulate their interest in the specialty and improve their ability to refer patients appropriately.

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Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research The Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research is a bi-monthly multidisciplinary medical journal.
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