American Dental Education Association
Journal of Dental Education
The study objective was to assess predoctoral dental students’ experience with a caries risk assessment computer program in the pediatric dentistry clinic at Marquette University School of Dentistry. In 2005, spring semester sophomore dental students (class of 2008) were introduced to the caries risk assessment computer program “Cariogram.” The students received a fifty-minute lecture on caries risk assessment and a demonstration on how to use Cariogram in the clinic. After two years of clinical exposure to Cariogram, sixty-six out of eighty senior dental students completed an anonymous eleven-item questionnaire on their experience with the tool. Each item on the questionnaire was scored on a five-point Likert scale with the exception of two questions. Full- and part-time faculty members in the pediatric dentistry clinic were involved in teaching and supervising students in the use of Cariogram for caries risk assessment after their training and calibration. Forty-five percent of the students who participated in the study agreed that Cariogram was easy to understand, and 18 percent disagreed. Thirty-six percent felt that it was easy to apply, and 25 percent reported that it was useful in determining caries preventive procedures. The students reported that 60 percent of full-time and 33 percent of part-time faculty were knowledgeable about Cariogram use. A majority of the students felt that Cariogram was not easy to understand, and eighty-two percent of them reported that they would not be using Cariogram in their private offices. Future studies should explore reasons why students do not feel inclined to use Cariogram as a caries risk assessment tool in their private practices even after being exposed to the tool in dental school.