Dental Students’ and Dental School Graduates’ Practical Skills: An International Survey of Perceptions of National Dental Associations in Europe

Wolf T. G., Dianišková S., Cavallé E., Aliyeva R., Cagetti M., Campus G., ...More

Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry, vol.22, pp.115-122, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.3290/j.ohpd.b4997035
  • Journal Name: Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, PASCAL, CINAHL, MEDLINE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.115-122
  • Keywords: dental association, graduate, international, practical skills, student
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: Dental students learn knowledge and practical skills to provide oral health care to the population. Practical skills must be maintained or continuously developed throughout a professional career. This cross-sectional survey aimed to evalu- ate the perception of practical skills of dental students and dental-school graduates by national dental associations (NDAs) in international comparison in the European Regional Organization of the FDI World Dental Federation (ERO-FDI) zone. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire of 14 items collected information on pre-/postgraduate areas. Results: A total of 25 countries participated (response rate: 69.4%), with 80.0% having minimum requirements for practical skills acquisition and 64.0% starting practical training in the 3rd year of study. In countries where clinical practical work on pa- tients begins in the 2nd year of study, practical skills of graduates are perceived as average, starting in the 3rd year of study as mainly good, starting in the 4th as varying widely from poor to very good. In total, 76.0% of respondents feel that improve- ments are needed before entering dental practice. Improvements could be reached by treating more patients in dental school (32.0%), increasing the quantity of clinical training (20.0%), or having more clinical instructors (12.0%). In 56.0% of the coun- tries, it is possible to open one’s own dental practice immediately after graduation, and in 16.0%, prior vocational training is mandatory. Conclusions: All participating countries in the ERO-FDI zone reported practical training in dental school, most starting in the 3rd year of study. The perception of practical skills of dental students and dental-school graduates among NDAs is very heterogeneous. Reasons for the perceived deficiencies should be further explored.