An evaluation of the use of caries risk/susceptibility assessment in an undergraduate dental curriculum

Melanie Nasseripour, Avijit Banerjee, Adam Hasan, Liz Chapple, Anusha Chopra, Lucy Cracknell, Zahraa Maiter

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There has been a paradigm shift in patient care with regards to delivering better oral health, towards a team-delivered, person-focused, risk-related model that is minimum intervention oral care (MIOC). Student skills should be developed within the undergraduate dental curricula to ensure graduating dentists and other oral healthcare team members are able to provide phased personalised care plans alongside behavioural management support to patients/caregivers to prevent and manage oral disease in the long term.
The purpose of this study was to establish that using an adjunctive Caries Risk/Susceptibility Assessment (CRSA) technology (PreViser), had an impact on the behaviour, perception and knowledge of dental undergraduate students and their clinical teachers, regarding the benefits of such an oral health assessment in the management of patients.
Four cohorts of students who did not have exposure to the Caries Risk Susceptibility software were compared with those who did. This study was conducted using a mixed methods approach using a convergent parallel design consisting of collecting quantitative data through questionnaires presented to 4 cohorts of year 4 dental students (n=150 per cohort) and their clinical teachers (n=10) and qualitative data from structured interviews with students (n=5) and teachers (n=7) with suitable statistical analysis and interpretation.
Results: Generally, the items which were statistically significant, when reviewed, showed better behaviour, perception and knowledge toward CRSA of Group C (BDS4-22T1) cohort in comparison to Group A (BDS3-20T2) cohort. Group D (BDS4-22T2) students felt more confident using the PreViser as a CRSA tool. When comparing Group C and Group D data, we note that Group C cohort were more likely to carry out a diet analysis for their patients and were less likely to be negatively impacted by time constraints than Group D. Both cohorts were equally confident in using PreViser for CRSA. From a qualitative perspective, although competence and confidence appeared high, students and teachers acknowledged they would need more support to use it chairside. The main barrier listed to using PreViser rested in the fact that clinical teachers either preferred their own ways of assessing or did not know how to use the tool and therefore did not encourage using it.
Those who did use PreViser highlighted that it was straightforward to use and was a systematic approach, enabling communication with the patients as there is ‘evidence’ to back up clinical recommendations.

The cumulative benefit of training and use (even limited) had an impact on the students’ knowledge, competence, confidence about CRSA and made teaching and helping them deliver CRSA easier. The importance of CRSA was felt to be more evident right after training. Further research is suggested to understand factors influencing student behaviour, perception and knowledge in CRSA with the aim to make recommendations on a preferred approach and tool to help streamline CRSA education.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Oral health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • risk assessment
  • oral health
  • undergraduate
  • curriculum
  • dental caries susceptibility


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