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Dental student research spotlights interdisciplinary collaboration in latest CDA Journal collection

Articles review integration of social work in special care dentistry and how to reduce the need for sedation for people with disabilities
January 9, 2024
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Quick Summary:
The 11 articles in Dental Student Research Highlight 2023 cover a range of topics and include a review of social work integration in special care dentistry; the presentation of a framework to reduce the need for sedation and general anesthesia for individuals with disabilities; and an examination of steam sterilization’s effect on the accuracy of 3D-printed implant surgical guides. Dentists have two opportunities to earn C.E. through the collection.

Research by California dental students appears in the latest CDA Journal collection with an emphasis on interdisciplinary collaborations.

“The research studies included in this special article collection highlight the importance of adopting interprofessional collaborations and exposing students to holistic approaches to oral health care with a particular focus on those with special needs,” Bo Yu, DDS, PhD, and Flavia Pirih, DDS, PhD, guest editors of the collection, write in the introduction.

The 11 articles in Dental Student Research Highlight 2023 cover a range of topics and include a review of social work integration in special care dentistry; the presentation of a framework to reduce the need for sedation and general anesthesia for individuals with disabilities; and an examination of steam sterilization’s effect on the accuracy of 3D-printed implant surgical guides.  

Dentists have two opportunities to earn C.E. through the collection by reading an article and successfully completing an online quiz.

“As guest editors, we applaud our student researchers’ contribution to advancing the scientific foundations of the dental profession,” Drs. Yu and Pirih add.

Read on for a few article highlights.

Social work integration in adult special care dentistry

Few clinics in California, as in much of the U.S., provide dental services specifically to individuals with special health care needs. The UCLA School of Dentistry’s Special Patient Care Clinic is one of them.

In “Integrating Social Work into Adult Special Care Dentistry — An Interdisciplinary Approach to Care,” researchers reviewed an initiative to integrate a social worker program at the clinic that serves patients with severe medical, physical and mental problems.

The researchers found that “social work in a dental setting has demonstrated the ability to improve bio-psychosocial wellbeing in patients and families, helping address unmet social and psychological needs and reducing barriers to oral health care.” The integration resulted in more patients attending their initial dental appointments, for example.

Reducing the need for sedation for patients with disabilities

Advances in policy, workforce, telehealth and dental materials and techniques have created the potential to better reach people with disabilities, greatly reduce the need for sedation and general anesthesia and allow many such individuals to maintain and improve their oral health in regular dental offices and clinics.

To demonstrate these principles, researchers present the framework for a “shorten-the-line” system of care developed at the California Northstate University College of Dental Medicine and discuss the steps for implementing the framework. Demonstration projects led by the college are underway. 

The “shorten-the-line” system “could significantly reduce the number of people being referred for dental care using sedation and general anesthesia” and “reduce wait times for those individuals who do require sedation or general anesthesia,” the authors write.

Steam sterilization’s effect on the accuracy of 3D-printed implant surgical guides

3D-printed implant surgical guides are designed to improve implant placement accuracy, but they are a potential source of contamination during implant surgery and therefore require sterilization to prevent post-surgical infection.

A pilot study by students at the Loma Linda School of Dentistry found that steam sterilization has a statistically significant effect on the accuracy of fully guided implant placement using 3D-printed surgical guides.

Dentists can earn .5 units C.E. by reading the article and successfully completing a short quiz.

Also in this collection:

  • Improving Oral Health Using Teledentistry and Virtual Dental Homes: Concepts and Progress
  • Assessment of Pre-Doctoral Dental Students’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs of HPV-Related Diseases and Vaccination Trends (read and complete a quiz for C.E. credit)
  • Analyzing Equivalency and Accuracy of Three Different Periodontal Probes Measuring Pocket Depth — An In-Vitro Study
  • Current Understanding of the Regulatory Mechanism of Tooth Root Development and Future Perspectives

Read the full collection. 

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