Filling the gap in dental training

Teesside University’s new £17 million health and sport science building has taken dental education and training in North East England to a new level.

With new facilities to teach students, including a magnificent dental training suite complete with 18 dental chairs and practice ‘phantom heads’, the development also has its own dental practice for both students and staff and the general public.

The new building, known as Centuria South, is on the Middlesbrough-based University campus and was officially opened by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, in October.

It has already welcomed its first cohort of dental nursing and dental hygiene and therapy students.

Dental training is a new area for the University’s rapidly growing School of Health & Social Care, which has seen student numbers grow from 4,500 students to 13,000 in the last decade.

Professor Paul Keane, OBE, Dean of the School of Health & Social Care, said: ‘A significant reason for the success of our school is our excellent working relationships with service colleagues in health and social care, both in the public and independent sectors.’

Expansion into dental area
Professor Keane said the University was approached three years ago by the local PCTs to consider working with them in accrediting programmes in the field of dental practice.

This led to a joint approach to the Strategic Health Authority to incorporate a dental practice and dental education in the new building.

The new building’s dental practice is due to open before Christmas and has received funding support from the North East Strategic Health Authority (SHA).

Professor Aidan Mullan, director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the SHA, said: ‘The NHS dental workforce relies on high quality education and training to deliver the very best care for patients in the North East.’

Erica Clough, principal lecturer in dental care, said: ‘During the course the dental hygiene and dental therapy students will learn all their practical clinical skills within the university dental treatment clinics. Dental nurse students will go on placements for up to two days a week in local dental practices who are eager to be involved with the education of our students.

‘The facilities here are the best I’ve seen for students to work on. It’s a wonderful environment for the students.

‘We’ve got 13 phantom heads in one of the new dental labs where the tutor will demonstrate clinical skills transmitted through a video camera to screens at the student workstation for each student to follow the practical demonstration. In the dental treatment areas we have 18 dental chairs where the students will carry out treatment on patients using the very latest equipment.

‘Our BSc honours programme is the only one in the North East and I’m delighted with the quality of the students on the first cohort. They seem very determined to succeed and it is a pleasure teaching them in such an excellent university environment.’

Erica said the current portfolio includes a postgraduate dental advisors course and will expand next year to include a dental technology programme.
New practice opens
Dental facilities are soon to available on campus for students and members of staff across the University as well as the general public.

The new dental practice will be on the ground floor of the Centuria South development.

It is led by lead dentist Kerina Lynch, lead dental nurse Michelle Woolridge and dental nurses Gemma Blades and Hayley Hart.

Hygiene, therapy and dental nursing students will also be involved in providing some treatments under supervision as part of their learning.

If the treatment required by a patient is not available on the NHS, some private treatments are available, such as gum shields for sportspeople.

Lead dentist Kerina Lynch said: ‘Teesside University Dental Practice will provide high quality dental care with an emphasis on prevention of oral health problems for its patients. The location of the dental practice on campus should make it easily accessible for those who work and study here at the University.’

Teesside University dental practice will be open from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Thursday and 9.00am to 4.30pm on Friday. For further details about registering with the dental practice ring 01642 738256 or email [email protected] .

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