Students' perceptions and attitudes about digital dental technology is associated with their intention to use it
Sheba, M.; Comnick, C.; Elkerdani, T.; Ashida, S.; Zeng, E.; Marchini, L.
Journal of Dental Education 85(8): 1427-1434
To investigate factors associated with predoctoral students' intention to use dental technology in future practice using the theory of planned behavior. A comprehensive survey was developed consisting of 29 questions grouped in three main domains: knowledge, perception, and suggestions. After students had completed their digital dentistry didactic courses in 2019, the University of Iowa-College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics D2, D3, and D4 classes completed the survey. The D1 class was excluded because they had not finished their digital dentistry didactic courses. The survey data were tabulated for each class separately to compare trends among classes. Each response was analyzed individually before creating scores for the various subdomains. A linear regression analysis was used to create the final model for the outcome variable (intention to use technology). The response rate was 95% (n = 232). The mean age of participants was 25.7 years (SD = 2.7). There were significant differences between the classes in their knowledge (p < 0.0001), perceived quality of training (p < 0.0001), and all perceptions related to digital dentistry. Controlling for significant covariates among higher level students, there were significant associations between intention to use dental technology and greater knowledge scores (p = 0.05), attitude (p < 0.0001), subjective social norms (p = 0.02), and perceived control on the future use of technology (p < 0.0001). Students may be motivated to use digital technology when they have good knowledge, feel that others are using it or endorsing its use, and perceive that they have control in their future practice.