Introduction to Dentistry
In this first in this series of dental science courses, the student would get a simple yet comprehensive overview of the normal appearance, structure, and morphology of dental and oral tissues from a visual, gross microscopic and radiographic viewpoint. In addition the basics of normal occlusion, morphology and interarch relationships would be presented. These foundation lectures on the normal oral structures would be followed by a basic overview of the basic dental diseases and dental conditions that the student will encounter in more detail in subsequent courses in the dental sciences. These include caries, periodontal diseases, pulpal diseases, malocclusions, temperomandibular disorders and developmental defects.
Structure and development of the oral cavity
This comprehensive course would give the student an overview of craniofacial development leading to a focus on the development of the oral cavity, tooth, and periodontal structures. The fine structure of the teeth and periodontium, eruption and exfoliation would be presented from a developmental standpoint so that the student had an appreciation of the structure of oral tissues as well as the pathways for repair, regeneration and remodeling of these structures during dental diseases and their applications in therapeutic strategies. Finally the various induction, differentiation and signaling mechanisms involved in the development of the structures in the oral cavity would be presented from a molecular biological, and genetic standpoint. The material presented in this course would serve as the necessary foundation for the subsequent courses dealing with etiologies, risk assessment and therapeutic approaches to dental diseases and dental conditions.
Etiology and Risk Factors in Dental Diseases and Dental Conditions
This 15 week course would introduce first year dental students to the various, metabolic, microbial, physiological, and pathological processes that contribute to the dental diseases of caries and periodontal diseases, developmental defects, and temperomandibular/occlusion disorders. In many ways this course would take the Oral Biology 108 series concept and expand it to encompass a more broad thematic and multidisciplinary approach to dental diseases and dental conditions. For example, where there are identical or similar mechanisms in the pathogenesis of periodontal and pulpal diseases, these subjects would be taught as an integrated block emphasizing both the similarities and differences between these two disease. A similar comparative block of material would center on the theme of the microbiology of caries, pulpal, and periodontal diseases. In addition other themes within this course would be built around the etiologies of dental diseases and conditions that share some common characteristics while also having have their own distinctive characteristics (e.g. nutrition, stress, etc.). Such an integrative approach would also be built around topics that are normally taught over several courses.
After this major section on the pathogenesis and role of major factors in the initiation and progression of dental diseases and conditions, the final portion of the course would center on an introduction to the biological basis for developing diagnostic tools to determine the presence of these dental diseases and conditions, identify patients at risk and determining future treatment outcomes.
Fundamentals of Dental Therapy
This 12-15 week course would present the major principals of treatment of dental diseases. Such principals would include antimicrobial therapies for the treatment of caries, periodontal diseases and other oral infections; repair, remodeling and regeneration of both hard and soft tissues; and control of mineralization and demineraliztion. As discussed in the previously described course on risk factors, individual dental disease do have unique approaches to treatment. However, there is also considerable common ground between the various diseases to permit an integrated discussion of these therapeutic approaches. Each treatment approach would first deal with the common basis of therapy and then lead to the unique approaches to the treatment of individual dental conditions.
One final integrative approach to the treatment of dental diseases and conditions would be a presentation of the general principles that underlie caries and periodontal disease prevention, malocclusions, temperomandibular dysfunction etc. This approach would include such principals as plaque control, correction of parafunctional habits, diet counseling, psychological counseling, and other interventions to eliminate risk factors.
Oral Pain, Oral Neuromuscular Function
These integrative courses would center on the physiology, anatomy, pharmacology and therapeutic principals to dental and oral pain in general and then to occlusal and temperomandibular function and dysfunction.
The first section of the course would integrate the material given on the principals of pain reception, propagation and perception through gross and microscopic anatomical, neurophysiological, pharmacological and psychological approaches. The principals and clinical application of both local anesthesia and systemic analgesia would be presented in this section.
The second portion of the course would discuss the anatomical, physiologic , pharmacological and therapeutic principals of occlusal and temperomandibular dysfunction. This presentation would incorporate the neurophysiology, neuromuscular physiology, pharmacology, and diagnostic and therapeutic approaches into an integrated presentation.