Transition Between Preclinical and Clinical Courses In Dentistry: Analysis of the Difficulties and Recommendation

2022 • Volume 16 • Issue 1

Rosario García-Huidobro; Claudia Véliz; Cynthia Cantarutti & Beatriz Mellado



Education for dentists requires the integration of knowledge and skills. Traditionally, the dental curriculum is divided into a basic science cycle, a preclinical cycle and a clinical cycle. It has been reported that dental students have difficulty starting the clinical cycle, with high levels of anxiety and depression. The aim of this study is to gather information on the difficulties that dental students have in the transition from preclinical to clinical courses in order to identify improvements to facilitate it. Qualitative research, in which 4 focus groups were carried out with students between the third and sixth year of the dental school. The focus groups were audio recorded and a content analysis of their transcriptions was carried out using Atlas Ti software. After the content analysis of the transcripts of the focus groups, three thematic units were identified: characteristics of the program, challenges of clinical activity and coping mechanisms. The results of this research suggest that there are difficulties in the transition from preclinical to clinical courses, which are related to the characteristics of the program (highly demanding, with high time dedication and requiring organizational skills) and clinical activity (pressure to meet clinical requirements and the importance of developing non-technical skills). The students reported different coping mechanisms for these difficulties (psychological help, medication, reduction of academic load and paying for patients’ treatments).

KEY WORDS: Education, Dental; Clinical competence; Curriculum; Simulation Training.


How to cite this article

GARCÍA-HUIDOBRO, R.; VÉLIZ, C.; CANTARUTTI, C. & MELLADO, B. Transition between preclinical and clinical courses in dentistry: analysis of the difficulties and recommendation. Int. J. Odontostomat., 16(1):132-139, 2022.


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