Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

The teaching of occlusion in undergraduate dental schools in the UK and Ireland

Abstract

Aim This study investigated and evaluated the teaching of occlusion in undergraduate dental schools in the UK and Ireland, the thorough understanding of which would facilitate young graduates to become competent practitioners.

Material and methods A mixed-methods approach was employed, with primary data generated and collected by using a cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey which was followed-up by semi-structured interviews. The hard copy questionnaires enquired about: i) whether occlusion was taught; ii) how long was spent by schools teaching occlusion; iii) what teaching resources were employed; iv) tutors' perceptions of how well prepared for general practice new graduates were; and v) how was knowledge/skill assessed. Follow-up interviews were undertaken with volunteering respondents to triangulate responses. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and qualitative data were stored using the Framework Method and analysis using a thematic approach.

Results One hundred percent (n = 18) of schools responded to the questionnaire and 66.67% (n = 12) of the schools participated in follow-up interviews. All schools reported that they taught occlusion in their curriculum. Total hours reported teaching occlusion varied from 11 to 310 hours. Twenty-eight percent (n = 5) of respondents reported insufficient time for the teaching of occlusion in the curriculum. There was a marked variation in: i) teaching methods; ii) resources employed; iii) assessment strategies to evaluate competency in occlusion; and iv) how well prepared students were. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data identified several themes: i) variations in teaching pedagogy; ii) use of different resources; iii) variable assessment techniques; iv) evaluation of teaching; and v) barriers to teaching occlusion.

Conclusion Recommendations for a coordinated teaching strategy with dedicated oversight to facilitate better student exposure to occlusion and promote student understanding of this topic is suggested.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

References

  1. The General Dental Council. Standards for Education. Standards and requirements for providers. London: General Dental Council, 2015.

  2. The General Dental Council. Preparing for Practice. Dental team learning outcomes for registration. Revised edition. London: General Dental Council, 2015.

  3. The Dental Council of Ireland. Learning outcomes. Dublin: The Dental Council of Ireland, 2013.

  4. Plasschaert A J M, Holbrook W P, Delap E, Martinez C, Walmsley A D. Profile and competences for the European dentist. Eur J Dent Educ 2005; 9: 98-107.

  5. Davies S, Gray R. What is occlusion? Br Dent J 2001: 191: 235-238, 241-245.

  6. Türp J C, Greene C S, Strub J R. Dental occlusion: a critical reflection on past, present and future concepts. J Oral Rehabil 2008; 35: 446-453.

  7. Esposito C J, Farman A G, Veal S J. Occlusion in the dental curriculum: 1980-1981. J Prosthet Dent 1983; 49: 419-426.

  8. Lee D J, Wiens J P, Ference J et al. Assessment of occlusion curriculum in predoctoral dental education: report from ACP Task Force on Occlusion Education. J Prosthodont 2012; 21: 578-587.

  9. Cohen S N, Silvestri A R. Teaching clinical problem solving in preclinical occlusion courses. J Dent Educ 1979; 43: 353-355.

  10. Mann W V. Emphasis-dental education. J Am Dent Assoc1981; 102: 625.

  11. Weisgold A S. Teaching a core course in occlusion. J Prosthet Dent 1975; 33: 89-95.

  12. Hindle J R, Craddock J L. The use of articulators in UK dental schools. Eur J Dent Educ 2006; 10: 197-203.

  13. Albino J E, Young S K, Neumann L M et al. Assessing dental students' competence: best practice recommendations in the performance assessment literature and investigation of current practices in predoctoral dental education. J Dent Educ 2008; 72: 1405-1435.

  14. Whitney E M, Walton J N, Aleksejuniene J et al. Graduating dental students' views of competency statements: importance, confidence, and time trends from 2008 to 2012. J Dent Educ 2015; 79: 322-330.

  15. Jahangiri L, Mucciolo T W, Choi M et al. Assessment of teaching effectiveness in US dental schools and the value of triangulation. J Dent Educ 2008; 72: 707-718.

  16. Bunce L, Baird A, Jones S E. The studentasconsumer approach in higher education and its effects on academic performance. Stud High Educ 2017; 42: 1958-1978.

  17. Martin N, Fairclough A, Smith M, Elis L. Clinical educators' views on the quality of undergraduate clinical restorative dentistry in the UK and ROI. Eur J Dent Educ 2011; 15: 216-222.

  18. Hendricson W D, Cohen P A. Oral healthcare in the 21st century: Implications for dental and medical education. Acad Med 2001; 76: 1181-1206.

Download references

Acknowledgements:

We are extremely grateful to all individuals from all undergraduate dental schools in the UK and Ireland, who volunteered their time and expertise to complete the questionnaire and to participate in the interviews. Without their encouragement and assistance this study would not have been possible.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Peter D. Fine.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

O’Carroll, E., Leung, A., Fine, P. et al. The teaching of occlusion in undergraduate dental schools in the UK and Ireland. Br Dent J 227, 512–517 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-019-0732-6

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-019-0732-6

This article is cited by

Search

Quick links