Nigerian dentists' knowledge and attitudes towards mouthguard protection


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Abstract

The objective of this study was to assess the knowledge and attitudes of Nigerian dentists towards mouthguard protection. A pre-tested 15-item, one-page questionnaire was distributed to 185 dentists practising in different parts of the country with government hospitals or private establishments, by ‘hand-delivery’ system. Filled and returned forms were 170 (response rate of 92%). The period of the survey was between April and August 2003. Dental graduates from the different dental schools in the country responded to this survey. About 49% of the respondents indicated having only classroom lectures on mouthguards during their undergraduate trainings, 11% said they had some laboratory sessions in addition while no form of education on mouthguards was received by 40%. About 82% had never recommended mouthguard protection for athletic patients, and the major reason was no formal training in the subject. Only 58.5% were familiar with the different types of mouthguards, 75.9% would not be able to supervise or fabricate mouthguards and 50.6% would prefer custom-made mouthguard for their athletic patients. About 84% felt the current training on mouthguards in Nigerian dental schools is inadequate. Over 98% agreed that mouthguard usage in contact sports should be encouraged with the involvement of the dentists. The knowledge and attitudes of the respondents towards mouthguard protection did not vary significantly across years of postqualification from dental schools as well as the professional status of the dentists (P > 0.05). Although Nigerian dentists support mouthguard protection in contact sports and want to be involved in the provision of mouthguards for athletes, their knowledge of the protective device is inadequate. There is need for attention to be given to this subject in the undergraduate curricula of our dental schools.

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