this paper analyzes how 25 venezuelan dental university fresh men students interpret hedging when answering two questionnaires after having read a dental review article. in the first one, they should interpret hedged expressions; in the second one, they should choose among several closed nterpretations of some hedged expressions. we organized the results in the following categories: from the first questionnaire, identification, suppression, and fertilization of hedges; from the second one, identification of approximators, shields, deictics and impersonal constructions. we found that the identification of hedges associated with the semantic dimension predominated. 30% recognized hedging as it was used in the original text, 30% fertilized hedging and 40% did not identify hedging devices at all. the students identified approximators more frequently, but they fail in identifying hedging expressed in shields, impersonal constructions or in temporary deictics. since these students could not interpret the pragmatic and socio-cognitive dimensions of discourse associated with hedging, it is necessary to teach these devices in the academic reading and writing courses. the capacity to interpret and use hedging strategies will allow the students be more competent in using prototypical dental scientific discourse.