We embrace a multidisciplinary approach to the acquisition of knowledge and skills and early clinical exposure is a key part of the course. In addition, dental students develop their clinical skills in several of our key outreach clinics, ensuring that they experience a wide range of primary care settings. You will be encouraged to take a holistic approach to dentistry – studying the human sciences, including sociology and psychology, to examine patients’ attitude to oral healthcare and the dental profession. You will also experience the community aspects of dentistry through studying Dental Public Health.
The first part of the programme aims to introduce you to basic biological principles. You will develop the study skills necessary throughout the programme to make the successful transition from school to university learning. Through lectures, seminars, practicals and clinical sessions in the dental hospital and e-learning, you will be given a firm grounding in the scientific basis of clinical practice.
You will be introduced to: the normal biological structure and function of cells, the body’s main organs and systems, oral biology, the effects of illness on people and their families, the impact of environmental and social factors on health and clinical skills; dental materials and their application; key early clinical skills and critical thinking.
(A200) CLINICAL PRACTICE, SCIENTIFIC BASIS OF CLINICAL PRACTICE YEARS 2-4
You will build on the knowledge gained in the first year and apply this to learn about the body systems in both health and disease, with topic areas geared towards the requirements of a dentist in training.
Particular emphasis is placed on oral biology, including the study of normal structures and functions of the adjacent tissues. This leads to the consideration of abnormalities and diseases of the mouth and the understanding of how to care effectively for patients suffering from them. During the second year there is a greater emphasis on patient care, which increases throughout the subsequent years. All the normal disciplines are covered, including adult and child restorative dentistry, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery and orthodontics. During Years 3 and 4 you will experience dental practice in our outreach centres with a diverse group of patients in which you will devise strategies for prevention and treatment.
What will I be doing?
A considerable proportion of time will be spent in clinical contact with patients, coupled with complementary educational activities, including seminars, laboratory class work, tutorials, e-learning projects and library activity. You will also be encouraged to engage critically with knowledge and ultimately be able to adapt to new and unfamiliar settings while providing treatment for your patients.
The final part of the curriculum provides you with the opportunity to consolidate the knowledge and skills you have developed in preparation for professional dental practice. There will be a greater exposure of cases and teaching normally seen as tertiary referral.
As newly qualified dentists you will work for a year in an approved practice as part of your Dental Foundation Training. This year is often called Vocational Training or DFY1. Your final year is designed to consolidate the knowledge and skills acquired in the earlier part of the course as well as assist you in obtaining the best results in readiness for application of your first job after qualification. Teaching is delivered through symposia, small group teaching, elective modules and continuing clinical, including practice visits. As part of your preparation for graduation you will get a chance to hear the experiences of graduates when they applied for jobs. You will also hear about different career routes from dentists working in different fields. During this period you will consolidate your own career pathway and recognise your distinctive graduate attributes. The Queen Mary careers team provide excellent support, including group workshops (eg interview skills), careers diagnosis and one-to-one advice. They also provide a range of information on the Mind the Gap website (www.mindthegap.qmul.ac.uk).
Elective modules are included in the dental curriculum to provide opportunities for you to study particular areas of personal interest in greater depth.
Examples of SSCs currently on offer, include:
We emphasise the development of clinical and communication skills in oral healthcare, history-taking and patient examination. You will practise communication skills in small groups using role-play with each other and simulated patients. Clinical skills are taught in our clinical skills laboratories and two on-site polyclinics – one for adults, one for children and in two purpose-built outreach centres at Barkantine in London Docklands and at Southend-on-Sea in Essex. Further outreach locations are currently in development.
As well as developing your clinical skills at the Dental School, you will also spend time at the Royal London and St Bartholomew’s Hospitals. You will be given responsibility to manage your own supervised practise in the Dental Institute.
Through case-oriented group discussions, you will gain an insight into the salient aspects of ethics and jurisprudence (law), which relate to working in dental practice. Topics discussed will include informed consent, truth telling, confidentiality, medical and dental experimentation and research, rights of children, rights of mentally ill people and those with a learning impairment and the moral and legal obligations of the dental practitioner.
One of the most interesting areas of the programme is the elective period at the end of Year 4, in which you will spend time studying one or more topics in the UK or abroad. This is a vital and challenging aspect of the programme enabling you to gain experience invaluable to your future career and personal development.