UKZN Dentistry Undergraduate Courses Offered

UKZN Dentistry Undergraduate Courses Offered

Diagnostics and Radiotherapy

In diagnostics, students learn to integrate knowledge obtained in the basic sciences, preclinical and clinical components so that they can practice holistically within the private and public sectors. Student learning occurs by various didactic methods such as groupwork, seminars, research projects, and clinical case presentations. All work done in this module contributes to the development of a comprehensive student portfolio. Marks obtained for each activity contributes to the final examination mark. Final assessment is done by an oral examination and discussion of the student portfolio with internal and external examiners.

The Radiology component – The first module covers Radiophysics, manual processing of films and intra oral techniques in the preclinical laboratory. The second module covers both intra and extra oral techniques in the preclinical laboratory as well as in the clinical setting. Clinical experience is obtained through conventional as well as digital radiography. Clinical training is done at the Oral and Dental Training Centre.

Cariology, Periodontology and Prevention

In this module, students learn about the two most common diseases in Dentistry which are dental caries (decayed teeth) and periodontal (gum) disease and their prevention and management. Preclinical training occurs in the Skills Laboratory at the Westville campus. Clinical Training is done at the Oral and Dental Training Centre.

The clinical aspects focus on patient examination (medical history taking, intra/extra oral examination) diagnosis, treatment planning, mechanical and chemical removal of plaque and principles of instrumentation, evaluation and maintenance, infection control.

Oral Hygiene Clinical Practice

Oral Hygiene Clinical Practice is designed to equip the oral hygiene student with comprehensive clinical skills relevant to the scope of oral hygiene practice in South Africa.

Students learn how to place temporary fillings, administer local anaesthesia, temporarily cement inlays, crowns, and bridges, placing soft linings in dentures, applying and removing periodontal packs, taking of cytological smears, taking impressions and casting of models, and performing specified functions in orthodontics.

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Community Outreach

Our School is actively involved in several Community Outreach programmes that provide promotive, preventative and curative services to disadvantaged communities. In addition to the service that they provide, our students obtain a real world experience, getting a feel for the needs of the communities within which they will eventually function. They are also given the opportunity to interact with members of the community to develop strategies to improve and increase the level of awareness of the general oral health status of these communities.

Our current programmes include:

  • Special needs institutions
  • Crèches and schools
  • Geriatric homes
  • The Phelophepa Health train
  • St Wendolins Health centre
  • The Smile Foundation

Minor Oral Surgery

In this component students are trained to manage a minor oral surgery procedure such as a basic extraction. This component is taught over two modules.

The first module is taught in second year and introduces the student to basic principles of surgery and local anaesthesia.

The second module is comprised of theory as well as daily clinical sessions under supervision of qualified dentists and dental therapists. In addition to the clinical sessions, the student is also exposed to community outreach programs like St Wendolins Health Centre and the Phelophepa Health Train. At the end of this module, the student should be clinically competent in managing a patient that requires an extraction.

Restorative Dentistry

Restorative Dentistry has its roots in the first year Oral Biology module, where students learn the basics regarding the shapes and forms of the teeth and the structure of the tissues making up the teeth.

In second year, students learn about the basic restorative concepts and the materials used for the restoration (fillings) of teeth. They are also introduced to the various Dental Specialties that are available to enable them to formulate treatment plans and referrals.

In final year, Restorative Dentistry is a major module, drawing on the knowledge that has been accumulated from the previous years. Starting with preclinical training on phantom heads in our skills laboratory, students then go on to work on patients under direct supervision, until the end of the year. Here they gain experience in restoring teeth that have been damaged through the decay process as well as to restore teeth that have minor fractures and aesthetic irregularities. They also visit the Phelophepa health train for two weeks as part of their outreach activity.