Student Perceptions of Effectiveness of Case-Based Learning in Orthodontic Education

Zhenhua Yang, Yin Ding, Zuolin Jin , Fang Jin*
State Key Laboratory of Military Stomatology, Department of Orthodontics, School of Stomatology, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710032, People's Republic of China

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© Yang et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the 145 West Changle Road, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710032, People's Republic of China; Tel: +86-29-84776138; E-mail:


Background :

Teacher-centered education dominates dental education in China. This report introduced the redesign of an orthodontic course previously delivered in a traditional lecture format into a case-based and student-centered learning format that focuses on improving students’ ability in clinical problem-solving and decision making skills.

Methods :

Thirty five dental students at the fourth year of a five-year B.D.S. program met in a ten-period series of seminars. Case details with relevant diagnostic records were provided to each student ahead of time. A diagnostic worksheet was used to guide students through the analytical process to develop the diagnosis and treatment plan. Students took turns leading the discussion at each seminar. Instructors served as facilitators and evaluators. Following the last session, a questionnaire was distributed to each student to evaluate the case-based learning program.

Results :

Responses from students revealed that the case-based orthodontic course was well received. Students commented favorably upon improvement in the aspects of problem lists, diagnosis and treatment planning.

Conclusion :

It was our initial attempt of using case-based learning format often used in postdoctoral dental education as a curriculum innovation in undergraduate orthodontic education. Our pilot investigation indicated that CBL is worthy of wide use and could be applied in multilevel dental education to develop the dental student's knowledge and skill in comprehensive patient evaluation and diagnosis in preparation for treatment planning.

Keywords: Case-based learning, dental education, orthodontic education, questionnaire, undergraduate.