Funded Projects


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2019 Funded Projects

CFDHRE Peer Reviewed Grant


Laura Dempster
Associate Professor, Faculty of Dentistry

Project Title:

Dental assistants’ and dental hygienists’ experiences of dental office noise exposure: Exploring relationships with coping, autonomy and well-being

Principal Applicant

Laura Dempster DipDH, BScD(DH), MSc, PhD
Title: Associate Professor, Faculty of Dentistry
Organization: University of Toronto

Co-Applicant:

Heather Hanwell, PhD, MSc, MPH(c)
Title: Research Assistant
Organization: University of Toronto

Award

$10,000

Abstract

Problem Statement
Gaps exist in our understanding of the impact of noise exposure on dental assistants (DA) and dental hygienists (DH) in dental practice. In addition, interest lies in the impact of dental workplace noise on factors over and above hearing loss and tinnitus, including those related to well-being. Environmental noise is related to mental health and well-being; thus, dental office noise is of concern not only in terms of hearing but also of well-being. Need exists for a comprehensive study of DAs and DHs, that explores their experience in the dental workplace, the noise they experience, and how this may relate to their well-being.

Purpose/Aim
To explore how DAs and DHs report their experiences of noise in the dental office and investigate the relationship between dental workplace noise and well-being.

Methods
We will use a qualitative collective case study of 9 DA & DH pairs enrolled from general dental practices in our previously-funded quantitative study. Data will include questionnaires on coping with stress, personal workplace noise exposure diaries, and semi-structured interviews. A concurrent literature search of theoretical and empirical publications on workplace well-being will assist in theorizing and interpretation. Analyses will be based in constructivist grounded theory methodology wherein we compare interview transcripts, coping data, and noise-related data within, between, and across cases to explore DAs’ and DHs’ experiences of workplace noise and explore how this relates to coping and self-determination.

Potential Results/Impact
Noise in dental practices may affect well-being of DHs and DAs but this has not yet been studied. This study will be the first to explore work-related noise exposure in relation to the well-being of dental professionals. Understanding the relationship between noise, well-being and relevant contextual factors can aid in producing noise-related recommendations to improve the well-being of dental practice staff.

CFDHRE Peer Reviewed Grant


Leigha Rock
Postdoctoral Fellow

Project Title:

The chicken or the egg: Differentiating between primary and secondary oral epithelial dysplasia and lichenoid mucositis

Principal Applicant

Leigha D. Rock, RDH, BDSc, PhD
Title: Postdoctoral Fellow, Cancer Control Research and Integrative Oncology
Organization: BC Cancer Research Centre/ BC Cancer, part of the Provincial Health Services Authority

Co-Applicant:

Miriam P. Rosin, BSc, PhD
Title: Founding Director, BC Oral Cancer Prevention Program; Senior Scientist, Cancer Control Research
Organization: BC Cancer Research Centre/ BC Cancer, part of the Provincial Health Services Authority

Award

$10,000

Abstract

Problem Statement
Lichenoid mucositis (LM) refers to a common group of reactive/ inflammatory mucosal lesions, including oral lichen planus (OLP), that are frequently encountered by dental health professionals. OLP is categorized as a potentially malignant condition; however, there are debates as to whether it should be considered premalignant. Some argue that only those lesions with evidence of both lichenoid features and dysplasia (LD) are potentially malignant. Others have theorized that there are sub-categories of LD, with differing levels of risk of malignant transformation. There are no primary research papers which report the proportion or rate malignant transformation in these potential sub-groups, only expert opinion papers.

Purpose
The objective of this project is to determine whether there are two distinct subtypes of LD, those with primary lichenoid mucositis and secondary oral epithelial dysplasia and those with primary oral epithelial dysplasia and secondary lichenoid mucositis, and whether the risk of malignant transformation differs between the two.

Methods
Participants for this nested case-control study will be drawn from a prospective cohort study, being conducted out of BC Cancer. Cases will include patients with a histological diagnosis of LD that progressed to cancer, and will be matched to controls (no progression) at a ratio of 3:1. Formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue samples will be assessed for basement membrane/basal cell degeneration (collagen IV and haemotoxylin immunohistochemistry). Exposure status will be tested for association with the main outcome measure of malignant progression.

Potential Results/Impact
Mucosal lesions can be identified by frontline dental professionals, including dental hygienists, at routine dental visits. The capability for early detection presents an opportunity for early intervention. The proposed research will have a translational impact on the management and follow-up of patients with such lesions, and has the potential to improve patient outcomes.