Opinion | Published:

Are UK graduates equipped with the skill set required to meet the demands of the UK's edentulous population?

BDJ volume 225, pages 1518 (13 July 2018) | Download Citation

Subjects

Abstract

As the UK witnesses a decline in the number of edentulous adults, there is a simultaneous reduction in the number of cases available to undergraduate dental students for the teaching of complete dentures. When edentulous adults are unable to function with conventional complete dentures, particularly pertaining to the mandibular denture, an implant-supported mandibular overdenture has been evidenced as the gold standard for edentulous patients. The evidence in favour of mandibular implant-supported overdentures is one of the most robust evidence bases for any clinical treatment and similarly it has been shown that undergraduate students are equally as capable in the provision of implant-supported overdentures as experienced prosthodontists. Yet there appears to be a disparity in the General Dental Council's undergraduate learning outcomes pertaining to care for edentulous adults. Furthermore, the UK seems to be falling behind in this respect in comparison to our European, American and Australian colleagues. This review looks at the evidence for the provision of implant-supported overdentures in the setting of the undergraduate dental curriculum, the potential barriers within this teaching forum and how well prepared UK undergraduates are for the clinical management of edentulous patients in the future.

Key points

  • Suggests that due to a declining number of edentulous adults there is a resultant decline in teaching cases for undergraduate institutions which will in turn impact on the skill-mix of graduating dentists.

  • Highlights that implant supported mandibular overdentures should be the standard treatment for the edentulous mandible.

  • Looks at the possible reason why there is a stark difference in implant teaching in the UK and the rest of the world.

  • Considers whether the General Dental Council undergraduate learning outcomes are sufficient to produce dentists with the skills required to manage the increasingly complex edentate population.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. School of Dental Sciences, Newcastle University, Framlington Place, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE2 4BW

    • H. Mather
    • , M. Thomason
    •  & J. Ellis

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Correspondence to H. Mather.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.524