Dentists Survey on Adverse Events During Their Clinical Training

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Adverse events (AEs) begin challenging the safe practice of dentistry early when students start treating patients at dental school. We assessed the frequency with which dentists caused common AEs during their undergraduate clinical training.


A convenience sample of dentists, graduated from more than 34 dental schools in Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries, answered a confidential, self-administered questionnaire with closed-format questions on common AEs they caused and their active errors that could have led to AEs in the teaching clinics.


Of 207 participants, 80% had graduated recently. As undergraduates, 79% caused AEs; 38% admitted to causing one adverse event, 41% to causing two or more, and 36% committed active errors that could have hurt patients. No significant associations between AEs and sex or type of school were observed.


The results indicate that dental students caused AEs or committed errors that placed patients at risk, during their clinical training.

Practical Implications

Dental schools must identify challenges to patient safety at their teaching clinics and introduce risk reduction strategies to protect their patients and foster a safety culture in dental education.

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