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25 March 2009
An innovative community project offering University dental students the chance to manage and treat real patients has been praised by New Zealand’s Chief Dental Officer, Dr Robin Whyman.
During a UK visit, Dr Whyman visited Cardiff’s St David’s Primary Dental Care Unit. Established in May 2002 the Unit, a joint venture between the School of Dentistry and Cardiff and the Vale NHS Trust, is designed to combine community dental care with teaching.
One of the key features of the Dental Care Unit is the opportunity for fifth-year dental students to take responsibility for patients. Each student treats on average six patients per day and works, under supervision, towards their individual diagnosis and treatment.
Dr Robin Whyman said: "This is an excellent example of how the community’s need for dental treatment can be met by dental students. Not only do patients get the treatment they need but, at the same time, students gain the vital hands-on knowledge and experience that can only be gained by working with real patients in the community".
"This is an excellent project that shows the benefits of a close relationship between the University and NHS Trust. It is a project that can act as an example for others in the UK and in other parts of the world."
The Dental Care Unit’s surgeries are equipped with the latest dental technology including digital radiography intra-oral cameras. The technology enables patients to see inside their own mouths to help understand the reasons for their treatment
In addition, operating microscope aid the management of more complex cases and four surgeries are all equipped for treatment under inhalation sedation. The Unit also introduced electronic patient records in 2003 and went paperless in January 2006.
Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Dean of the School of Dentistry and Professor in Dental Public Health said: "We were delighted that Dr Whyman took the opportunity to visit the Dental Care Unit and learn more about the innovative way the University trains its dental students."
The School of Dentistry, which remains one of the key centres of community based teaching, is hosting a major UK conference in Cardiff on Wednesday 29th April. Speakers will include students from the School, the Chief Dental Officer for Wales and speakers from Glasgow and Sheffield Universities who will outline community-based projects in other parts of the UK.
For further information or to attend the conference, please contact Iveta Martincova on 029 2074 5246 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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