Introduction to Dentistry Course
Introduction: The scope and changing role of dentistry in human health
A series of 2-3 lectures to give the incoming student an overview of the scope of the current discipline of dentistry and the emerging role of oral/dental diseases and conditions with systemic diseases and human health.
PART I: The oral cavity in health
- The normal appearance of primary and permanent dentition, oral mucosa, and the periodontium
- Normal inter-arch relationships of the permanent dentition. Introduction to occlusion
- The basic diagnostic tools in dentistry: Visual inspection of hard and soft tissues and the occlusion, the explorer, the periodontal probe, and dental radiographs. What these tools tell us about the oral cavity in health.
- Clinical exercises on each other using the basic clinical tools to determine normal parameters and to detect early changes associated with dental conditions and diseases.
- A small group discussion in which dental faculty presents normal findings (facilitating questions and answers form the students) through patient history, slides and radiographs.
PART II: The oral cavity in disease
- Introduction to coronal caries, root caries, the spread of caries to the pulp.
- Introduction to periodontal diseases. The role of plaque in the progression of gingivitis to chronic adult periodontal diseases. Early onset periodontal diseases.
- Abnormalities in the development of oral structures.
- Abnormalities in physiologic occlusion. Malocclusions, sequellae of tooth loss, TMJ dysfunction.
- Two small group sessions to discuss the basic oral conditions and diseases with emphasis on how diagnostic tools are used to assess these conditions through presentation of patient slides, clinical findings and radiographs. Similar in structure to the small group discussions in Week 2.
- One or two problem based exercises in which the student is presented with clinical data from a healthy mouth and a mouth with overt dental disease and asked in a series of questions to ascertain what is going on, what other information may be needed, and how we might treat such a condition. (This exercise for incoming student would be very basic at first and would be a framework for similar thinking exercises in following years with dental cases of increasing complexity--as introduced in the "patient centered care" and/or "scientific method" stream)
Part III: The Language of Dentistry
An introduction to the basic orientation terms in clinical dentistry as well as basic descriptive morphology and anatomy of the primary and permanent dentition. The purpose of this section is to give the student a framework both the first basic laboratory and clinical procedures as well as a foundation of the developmental processes in tooth formation.
- For the orientation of clinical dentistry section, there would be two lectures and a student clinical section on basic patient position and orientation. This section would coordinate with the material that would be given concurrently and later in the introductory courses in the patient centered care stream.
- For the section on basic dental morphology, there would be 3-4 lectures followed by 1-2 small seminars on tooth identification and crown and root morphology. This material would coordinate with and be followed by the basic laboratory procedures in the restorative dentistry stream.