Background: Dentists are constantly exposed to numerous occupational health risks. These can cause the appearance of numerous infirmities, which further develop and intensify with time.
Objective: To assess the level of awareness of occupational hazards and preventive practices among the dental students in dental college and hospital.
Materials and Methods: The study was conducted at a dental institution in South India using self-administered questionnaires. All the students attending the second-year bachelor of dental surgery (BDS) and Internship of the college were included in the study. Total number of participants included was 160 comprising 82 second year BDS and 78 internship students of the institution. The self-administered questionnaire also included questions on baseline characteristic information such as gender, age, and years of study. Data were analyzed using SPSS, version 15.0.
Results: The most prevalent preventive measure reported by the participants was the use of facemask (99.4%), wearing gloves on a routine basis (98.1%), and changing gloves between the patients (96.2%). Majority (84.4%) of the study participants were vaccinated against Hepatitis B. Only 57.5% study participants had regular exposure to dental amalgam, and 43.8% feel stress while working in clinic or laboratory. Overall, internship students score for better awareness and preventive practices; this was found to be statistically significant (Table 1). Clinical practices were better among the internship group of participants as compared to second-year BDS students.
Conclusion: Majority of the study participants were aware of the biological, chemical, and physical health hazards associated with dentistry but incapable to follow preventive measures in daily routine. The number of years of study and clinical hours spent improves the knowledge and practices of occupational hazard awareness and preventive practices among dental professionals.
Key words: Occupational hazards, dental students, preventive practices