Periodontology in the undergraduate curriculum in UK dental schools
P. A. Heasman,*1 J. Witter2 and P. M. Preshaw1,3
Federation of Periodontology (EFP) guidelines, and therefore the teaching of the subject throughout Europe.2,3 These guidelines and their comprehensive specific objectives embracing extensive curriculum content, the time allotted for teaching, patient treatment and evaluation have been updated and are still available on the EFP website.3
In 2007 the BSP commissioned a ‘market’ survey of UK dental students for their views on periodontology as a subject. The report suggested that, at the undergraduate level, periodontology has an ‘image problem’ which is associated with how the subject is taught, students’ lack of awareness of what periodontists do and that the subject is not seen as being challenging, exciting and complex dentistry.4 The report concluded that undergraduates and then ‘early career dentists’ need to be educated about the full potential of periodontology as a discipline that demands a high level of clinical skill to undertake potentially complex procedures and that this might be achieved by facilitating greater exposure to practising periodontal specialists either at their practices or by arranging visits to the schools and hospitals.4
In 2011, after a period to allow teachers sufficient time to consider and perhaps respond to the outcomes of the report, the
BSP planned another survey of undergraduate curricula across UK schools. This was
Recognising that periodontics should be an integral part of the diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities of the general dental practitioner, the teachers’ section of the British
Society of Periodontology (BSP) published in 1980, a series of attitudinal, didactic and clinical educational goals which will have served as the foundation for many of the contemporary periodontal curricula at UK dental schools.1 Almost two decades later the BSP undertook a questionnaire survey of
UK dental schools to gather information and evaluate the curriculum content, teaching manpower and assessment in periodontology and to explore any extra-curricular opportunities that might be available to undergraduate students.2 With a 100% response rate it was demonstrated that there was considerable consistency in the teaching and learning in periodontology across the UK and that this largely complied with European
Introduction In 1980 the British Society of Periodontology published a series of educational goals which have guided periodontal curricula at UK dental schools. Further, a survey of UK dental schools evaluated aspects of teaching and learning in periodontology. The aims of this project were to identify teaching practices and assessments in periodontology and best practice which may be developed in the future. Materials and methods A questionnaire was sent to dental schools who had participated in the previous survey. The questionnaire sought information on aspects of teaching and learning in periodontology: teaching manpower, curriculum structure, assessment, research opportunities for students and whether implantology is delivered in the undergraduate curriculum. Results There is consistency between the education providers with respect to teaching and learning in periodontology. Most are developing integrated learning between dental undergraduates and members of the dental team although there are opportunities for further development. Students are expected to have knowledge of complex treatments but are not expected to be competent at undertaking periodontal surgery nor placing and restoring implants. Conclusion The findings confirm that there is considerable consistency between the education providers with respect to aspects of teaching and learning in periodontology. considered timely as all dentistry programmes would be inspected by the General Dental
Council (GDC) between 2012 and 2014 and because schools might be in the process of realigning their teaching from the learning outcomes published in The first five years and Developing the dental team, to those published in Preparing for practice.5–7 Further, the
GDC’s Standards for education8 against which programmes are inspected were introduced in 2013 and include ten requirements for assessment which may be of specific relevance to programme leads in periodontology.
The broad aims of this project, therefore, were to: • Explore teaching practices and assessments in periodontology throughout the UK • Identify the current involvement and teaching of our undergraduates in periodontal surgery and dental implantology • Identify teaching practices that will benefit the speciality of periodontology.
MATERIALS AND METHOD
The methods were based upon those used in the 1998 survey.2 Briefly, a structured, 25-item questionnaire (Appendix 1) was sent to named individuals (BSP contacts or heads of periodontal departments) at each of 14 UK dental schools who participated in 1School of Dental Sciences, Newcastle University, UK; 2School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge,
UK; 3Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle
University, UK *Correspondence to: Professor Peter Heasman
Accepted 10 June 2015
DOI: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2015.526 ©British Dental Journal 2015; 219: 29-33 • Reports on the results of a questionnaire survey of UK dental schools on aspects of teaching and learning in periodontology. • Confirms that there is considerable consistency between schools in periodontal teaching and learning but with some variation in providing opportunities for undertaking surgery and placing dental implants.
I N B R I E F
BRITISH DENTAL JOURNAL VOLUME 219 NO. 1 JUL 10 2015 29 © 2015 British Dental Association. All rights reserved
EDUCATION the 1998 survey. The closed sections of the questionnaire sought specific information on all aspects of curricula in periodontology under the broad headings of teaching staff, curriculum structure, assessment and evaluation, research opportunities for students and, new to the current survey, the extent to which implantology is delivered in the undergraduate curriculum. The questionnaire also included open sections, permitting the responders to provide considerable detail of the individual courses at each school. The data were entered manually into an electronic database by one author (JW). The principal outcomes were presented to and discussed by the teachers’ section of the BSP.