Statement of the problem: Pathological tooth surface loss (TSL) is an increasing challenge for dental healthcare professionals (DHCPs). Patients with eating disorders (EDs) may present with TSL and future DHCPs should be aware of the medical, dental and general management of patients with EDs who may present with TSL.
Purpose of the study: Determine perceptions of undergraduate students at Cork University Dental School and Hospital (CUDSH) regarding their training and the management of eating disorders. Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to final year dental (FYD; n=47) and dental hygiene (FYDH; n=14) students approaching the end of their studies at University College Cork.
Results: A response rate of 40% for FYD (n=19) and 86% for FYDH (n=12) students showed no obvious trends differentiating between perceptions of FYDs and FYDHs. The perceived confidence of students in managing patients with EDs varied widely. A number of respondents perceived inadequate training in relation to oral manifestations (32%) and dental management (16%) of patients with EDs. In relation to the medical management (90%), personality traits (71%) and psychological needs (81%), students perceived a requirement for further training. A total of 77% of respondents were unaware of local support services available to ED patients, with 94% also unaware of Eating Disorder Centre Cork (EDCC). Conclusion: There is a need for improvement within the dental curricula in education regarding patients with EDs, specifically their comprehensive management by DHCPs and surrounding services.