Evaluation of Challenges Encountered by Dental Students in the Study of Oral Pathology: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Sonal Saigal, Ankur Bhargava, Tarun Kumar, Geetika Tomar, Rashmeet Kaur, Ranjeeta Mehta


Background: Studying oral pathology poses unique challenges for dental students due to the complex nature of the subject matter and the demanding curriculum. Understanding these challenges is crucial for improving the learning experience and addressing the needs of dental students in oral pathology education.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate the challenges faced by dental students in studying oral pathology. A structured questionnaire was developed based on a comprehensive literature review and expert opinions. Convenience sampling was utilized to select dental students from different academic institutions. The questionnaire included closed-ended and open-ended questions related to demographic information and specific challenges encountered in oral pathology education. Data were collected and analyzed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.

Results: A total of 100 dental students participated in the study. The majority of participants were female (60%) and in the age range of 20-25 years (50%). The complexity of oral pathology was rated as moderately challenging by 50% of respondents, followed by 30% who considered it very challenging. Approximately 40% of participants reported feeling frequently overwhelmed by the workload and time constraints associated with studying oral pathology. Other challenges included limited resources and references (45%), difficulties in diagnostic skills development (55%), lack of clinical correlation (40%), insufficient practical training (35%), limited exposure to rare conditions (30%), and a lack of interactive teaching methods (50%).

Conclusion: Dental students face various challenges in studying oral pathology, including the complex nature of the subject, workload and time constraints, limited resources, diagnostic skills development, clinical correlation, practical training, exposure to rare conditions, and teaching methodologies. The findings highlight the need for curriculum enhancements, improved access to resources, integration of practical training and clinical experiences, and the implementation of interactive teaching methods to address these challenges effectively. By addressing these challenges, dental educators and institutions can provide a supportive and enriching learning environment, ensuring the development of competent dental professionals in oral pathology.

Keywords: oral pathology, dental students, challenges, curriculum, workload, resources, diagnostic skills, clinical correlation, practical training, teaching methods

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