Teaching and Assessment of Dentist-Patient Communication Skills: A Systematic Review to Identify Best-Evidence Methods

Ayman M. Khalifah, Antonio Celenza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Dentist-patient communication skills are important aspects of contemporary oral health care, as shared decision making with patients becomes more common. The aim of this systematic review of the literature on teaching and assessment methodologies for communication skills in dental practice was to categorize those skills most relevant to dental practice and determine the best-evidence teaching and assessment methods. The systematic review was conducted using MEDLINE, EBM-Cochrane Libraries, Embase, ERIC, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, and PsycINFO using the OVID search engine, together with manually searching relevant journal articles. Relevant data were extracted from all included articles, and thematic analysis, categorization, and quality review of the articles was performed. Fifty articles published between 2000 and 2016 were identified as relevant to this study. Most were comparative design studies. The largest numbers were single group studies with before and after tests and cross-sectional studies. A total of 26 communication skills were identified and grouped into four major categories: generic skills, case-specific skills, time-specific skills, and emerging skills. Review of the teaching methods described in those articles showed that educators used a combination of passive and active strategies. All the assessment measures were considered to be valid and reliable. This categorization of essential dentist-patient communication skills reported in the literature may be used to assist in curriculum design along with use of tested teaching methods and validated assessment measures. The review highlights the need for more robust study designs for research in this important aspect of dental education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-31
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


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