Document Type : Original Article

Authors

Assistant Professor, Department of Dental Public Health, School of Dental Medicine, Medical University of Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria

10.22122/johoe.2021.195996.1312

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIM: One year after the novel coronavirus pandemic, there is a sustained risk of further global spread and most countries continue to impose preventive measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The current situation outlined a specific reformulation of dental education in Medical University of Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria – initial transition of face-to-face classes towards electronic learning (e-learning) processes, and subsequently, a transition from online teaching toward hybrid education. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate preclinical dental students’ knowledge and attitude towards COVID-19 precautions as well as cross-infection control strategies.
METHODS: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted online on 258 out of 516 preclinical dental students at the School of Dental Medicine, Sofia, using a self-administered questionnaire. Survey items were grouped in 3 general sections: educational experiences, students’ knowledge and perceptions of COVID-19 precautions and sources of relevant information as well as students’ personal experiences during the current pandemic.
RESULTS: A total of 169 students participated in the study (response rate: 65.5%). Of them, 98 (57.9%) were second-year students, 42.6% were men, and their mean age was 21 ± 1 years. Almost one-third of the participants indicated violation of disinfection and sterilization protocols (28.9%) and the presence of aerosol-generating procedures (27.2%) as the most important COVID-19 predisposing factors in dental practice. Vaccination was suggested as the most effective way of prevention against the COVID-19. Proposed infection control practices included strict cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization (87.6%), personal protective equipment (PPE) (85.8%), frequent ventilation (53.3%), and treatment after a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (or other) test (46.2%). Social media was considered as the main source for pandemic-related information (68.0%).
CONCLUSION: In the light of COVID-19, dental students demonstrated a satisfactory level of knowledge regarding standard precautions in dental practice; however, more attention should be paid to additional transmission-based precautions to ensure the safety of educational and working environment.

Keywords

Main Subjects

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