Umm Al-Qura University

Umm Al-Qura University

First scientific study linking patients' needs with dental specialties

The teaching hospital of the UQU College of Dentistry was the first to conduct an unprecedented scientific study that linked patients’ needs to determining the dentists' disciplines and the labor market needs, in order to reduce financial losses resulting from establishing unwanted disciplines and to reduce unemployment opportunities in this area, by linking patients' needs to the type of specialization and assistance with establishing new disciplines and the appropriate redistribution of disciplines according to treatment type. The study was conducted with the participation of Dr. Khalid Al-Jehani from King Abdulaziz University, Dr. Hassan Abed, Dr. Hanadi Lemfoun and Dr. Mohamed bin Moustafa Bayari from the College of Dentistry, UQU.

The study was published in a United States medical Journal, which aims to find out the greatest problems and needs of dental patients associated with oral and dental education at the teaching hospital, UQU College of Dentistry, from January 2014 to August 2014. The study included the participation of 3566 patients who visited the preliminary examination clinics at the College of Dentistry, which operates from two to three days per week. Each patient's consent has been taken to participate in the search, as they gave their verbal and written approvals after seeing the scientific board of Research's approval to do the research. The age of each patient has been defined and their sex, and also the basic and main problems for which they visited the primary examination clinics of the College of Dentistry, UQU.

The study included 47% of male patients and 53% of female patients, and the median age of participants of both sexes was 30 years, in addition, the research confirmed that the most major problems for which patients visited the primary examination clinics are as follows:

 1. The presence of oral and dental pain, 35.4% for both sexes.

2. General oral and dental health screening, 13% for both sexes.

3. Treatment of dental decay, 6.9% for both sexes.

4. Scaling by removing calculus, 5.9% for both sexes.

5. Mal-alignment of anterior teeth, 5.4% for both sexes.

6.Teeth Whitening, 5.3% for both sexes.

7. Replacement of missing teeth, 4.4% for both sexes.

8. Placement of dental fillings, 3.8% for both sexes.

9. Dental Implants, 3% for both sexes.

10-Aesthetic restoration of anterior teeth, 3% for both sexes.

11. Dental sensitivity treatment, 2.6% for both sexes.

12. Facial swelling, 1.5% for both sexes.

13. Foul mouth odor, 1.5% for both sexes.

14. Articular joint pain, 1.4% for both sexes.

15. Swelling of the tissues surrounding teeth, 1.2% for both sexes.

16. Food entrapped between teeth, 1.2% for both sexes.

17. Gum pigmentation, 1.2% for both sexes.

18. Oral ulcers, 1.1% for both sexes.

19. The feeling of numbness and shooting pain in the mouth and teeth, 0.8% for both sexes.

20. Swelling inside the mouth, 0.4% for both sexes.

This study hence revealed the importance of knowing the main reason for the patient's visit to the Oral and dental clinic, which must normally and basically be received by dentists of different disciplines, as they help to know the main reason behind the patient's visit, on which the nature of treatment and the required specialization are determined, which in turn helps to distribute the required specialties according to the needs of patients visiting the specific hospital, to decrease dental disciplines that are less needed and opening other disciplines in dentistry for which there is a great need, such as advanced dental care that handles most of the oral and dental problems. This helps to reduce financial losses, due to establishing unwanted specialties at the educational hospital, general hospital or in the labour market. Also, reduce unemployment opportunities in this area; as linking the patients' needs with the quality of specialization in the hospital or clinic may help to open new disciplines and redistribute disciplines appropriately for treatment.

This preliminary study is a microcosm of the patients' needs at UQU Dental College, which is only one center, hence it is difficult to generalize this study widely in the kingdom, as well as the fact that the age of patients does not exceed 30 years, since the age of the population of Saudi Arabia is increasing markedly, and this study advises that a full-fledged survey at the kingdom level is needed, so as to know what are the greatest needs of dental patients, which will help determine the required disciplines of the labour market.