The General Dental Council expects graduating dentists to be competent at treating pulpal disease. Previous studies have found dental undergraduates to have low levels of confidence with respect to endodontic treatments. The aim of this study was to investigate the confidence of undergraduate dental students at the University of Bristol when performing root canal treatment, and to investigate their perception of the quality of their endodontic education. An anonymous questionnaire, based upon one used in a 2015 study at Cardiff University, was distributed to all (n
= 204) undergraduate students in Years 3–5 at the University of Bristol. The results were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences software (SPSS). There was a 59% (n
= 120) response rate and a significant (p
< 0.01) difference in confidence levels for root canal treatments (RCTs) completed between these students. All (100%) Year-5 students felt confident in completing anterior RCTs, and 91% felt confident in completing posterior RCTs. The majority (93%) of Year-4 students felt confident in completing anterior RCTs, and 77% felt confident in completing posterior RCTs. Over one-half (56%) of Year-3 students felt confident in anterior RCTs and 17% in posterior RCTs. With respect to the individual stages of RCT (access cavity, cleaning and shaping of root canal system, and obturation/filling), results showed that there was a significant difference (p
< 0.01) in confidence levels between year groups. Many students thought the amount of time spent on endodontic teaching and the quality of teaching to be satisfactory. Improvements suggested for future endodontic teaching included higher numbers of staff supervision and additional endodontic practice on extracted teeth before seeing patients. There was a strong association between students’ clinical experience and their levels of confidence when completing RCT. Increasing the amount of clinical experience of RCTs could enhance students’ confidence further.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited