Critical Thinking and Reasoning in Dentistry

Critical thinking is reflecting on thought processes to improve them.5 Dental and dental hygiene students can benefit from reflective thinking to make reasonable decisions about their patients’ care.1 Along with critical thinking skills, students need to develop clinical reasoning skills. Clinical reasoning skills are important during each step of the process of care. Students use clinical reasoning skills in gathering data for their patient assessments. They are also used to identify the patient’s priority from the data. These skills continue through developing and implementing a care plan. They continue through evaluating the effectiveness of the plan and correctly documenting patient care. If educators can help students develop clinical reasoning skills, students should improve their management of patient care.2