Dental students’ perceptions of case-based learning method and the impact of clinical information in imaging diagnosis

Hellen C.M.R. Tostes, Luciana B. Oliveira, Ademir Franco, José L.C. Junqueira, Monikelly C.C. Nascimento, Anne C. Oenning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)



Education in oral imaging diagnosis is provided early in most dental curricula worldwide. Stressing the importance of clinical and radiographic information for oral diagnosis is of utmost importance for dental students. In this context, active learning methods, such as case‐based learning (CBL), represent contemporary tools in the armamentarium of dental education. This study aimed to investigate (a) dental students’ perceptions on CBL and (b) the importance of clinical data for image‐based diagnosis.


Fifteen cases of bone lesions were presented to 56 undergraduate students; group 1 (n = 24) was provided with the imaging data alone from each case, while group 2 (n = 32) received clinical information followed by the imaging data. Students’ performance and perception on the teaching approach were assessed using a structured questionnaire. Their differential diagnoses for each of the lesions figured as variables to be compared with the known diagnosis.


All the students reported a positive experience with the case‐based teaching method and confirmed this approach as a valuable tool in dental education. The diagnosis of a simple bone cyst, a periapical cyst or an ameloblastoma improved when they were provided with clinical data prior to the complementary images. No significant difference was detected, however, when the total amount of correct diagnoses were combined together and compared between groups (P > .05).


Case‐based learning was corroborated as an optimal method for educating undergraduate dental students. Clinical data might contribute to diagnostic imaging, especially regarding lesions with multiple differential diagnoses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-778
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Dental Education
Issue number4
Early online date10 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2020


  • dental education
  • diagnostic imaging
  • learning
  • radiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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