F.B. Lawal1, W.O. Olawole2 and O.F. Sigbeku3

  1. Department of Periodontology and Community Dentistry, University College Hospital, Ibadan.
  2. Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University College Hospital, Ibadan.
  3. Department of Oral Pathology and Oral Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan


Background: Individuals, generally, in this environment are known to rate their oral health status favourably despite the presence of oral diseases and conditions, probably due to sub optimal awareness level about oral health, however it is not known if this is the case with members of the dental team especially those who assist the dentist in day to day procedures.

Objective: This study assessed the self ratings of oral health status amongst student dental surgeon assistants on clinical rotation at the Dental Centre, UCH, Ibadan.

Method: This was a descriptive cross sectional study in which data was obtained with the use of self administered questionnaire and by clinical oral examination. Data obtained included sociodemographic data of respondents, questions assessing self rating of oral health status and evaluation of presence or absence of clinical oral conditions.

Results: A total of 54 students with a mean age of 23.9years on clinical posting participated in the study. Nearly all (98.1%) rated their oral health as very good or good and 55.6% perceived a need for oral health care. About 60% had consulted a dentist previously. The mean DMFT was 0.28 and 14.8% of the respondents had a DMFT score > 0. Significant association was found between the global self rating of oral health and perceived need for dental treatment.

Conclusion: The perceived need for dental treatment is an important factor in global rating of oral health amongst student dental surgeon assistants.

Keywords: Self rated, Oral health, Dental auxiliaries


Dr. F.B. Lawal
Dept. of Perio. & Comm. Dentistry,
University College Hospital,
Ibadan, Nigeria
Tel.: +2348023658988


Self rated oral health is a patient based assessment of oral health status, which assesses the perception of an individual about his or her oral health condition.1,2 Different instruments have been used to assess the self ratings of oral health status, one of which is the single item global self rating of oral health, which has been widely used.3,4 The global self rating of oral health is a simple and reliable measure of an individual’s self perception of oral health.5-7 It has been found useful in the assessment of treatment outcomes and in planning and evaluation of intervention programmes.8- 10 The self ratings of oral health vary according to the sociodemographic status, knowledge of oral health, perceived need for treatment and oral health behaviour.11-16

Adolescents and adults, in general, have been noted to rate their oral health status as excellent or good.4 However, this rating has been shown not to correlate with the clinical findings recorded in the participants with the reason being partly that the awareness of oral health and its importance may be deficient in the society. It is unknown if this will be different in adults who presumably are knowledgeable about the importance of oral health such as students who are training to become dental surgeon assistants. Furthermore, these are future members of the dental team that will be closely involved with the management of the patients with the dental surgeon and are invariably expected to have good knowledge of oral health.

We therefore aimed, with this pilot study, to assess the global self rating of oral health status of the dental surgeon assistants in training on clinical posting at the University College Hospital, Ibadan and determine possible predictors of this self rating of oral health.

This was a descriptive cross sectional study conducted amongst final year student dental surgeon assistants who were on clinical rotation to the Dental Centre, University College Hospital, Ibadan. Data was collected with the use of self administered questionnaires and by clinical oral examination using standard guidelines of the World Health Organization on basic oral health survey.17 The questionnaires were administered to all 54 students who came for the clinical rotation in 2011/2012 academic session.

Data collected with the questionnaire included sociodemographic characteristics of the study participants, global self rating of oral health and oral health seeking behaviour, which was assessed by previous dental consultation.

Data collected was subjected to statistical analysis using SPSS version 17. Qualitative variables were summarised by frequencies, and percentages. Quantitative variables were summarised by means and standard deviations. Test of association was done using Chi Square ( and Fisher’s exact test (FET) as appropriate. P-value for statistical significance set at 5%.