Aim: Preclinical dental training is essential for the development of psychomotor skills necessary for clinical practice. The study aimed to investigate the impact of teaching with a layered base plate blocks on cavity preparations and students’ self-perceived confidence, readiness, and ability.
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study recruited 52 dental students into two groups; one trained (test) with layered base plate and the other without (control). Students answered an eight-question survey to assess self-perceived confidence, readiness, and ability for performing cavity preparation at the start of their first preclinical operative dentistry course. Students prepared one molar tooth for a class I cavity and two for class II cavities. Preparations were assessed for different elements of depth and outline extension by two blinded examiners.
Results: Statistically significant differences were found between the median scores with respect to the preparation of class II cavities among students exposed to layered base plate (Mann– Whitney U-test, p < 0.05). There were no significant differences between the median scores awarded with respect to the preparation of class I cavity. A statistically significant difference was reported in self-perceived confidence among students who trained with the layered base plate (χ2, p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Training on the layered base plate blocks increased students’ initial confidence level in performing cavity preparations, and improved the preparation skills in class II cavity.
Clinical significance: This study explores the methods of enhancing motor skills taught in preclinical operative dentistry courses, especially in short academic programs.
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