Skip to main content

Unit information: Foundations for Practice - Year 1 in 2021/22

Unit name Foundations for Practice - Year 1
Unit code ORDS10015
Credit points 40
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Mrs. Woolley
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Dental School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Year 1:

Subject Areas:

  1. Oral & Dental Anatomy & Physiology Oral/Embryology & Histology and Dental Morphology
  2. General Anatomy and Physiology
  3. Microbiology (spread of infection)
  4. Medical Conditions & Dental Management Implications
  5. Diet & Nutrition
  6. Tooth wear
  7. Medical History taking and Medical Emergencies
  8. General Pathology (inflammation and wound healing)
  9. Dental Deposits and Periodontal Disease
  10. Topical Fluorides, Toothpastes & Mouthwashes in plaque control
  11. Health Promotion, Planning & Prevention
  12. Dental Public Health & Evidence Based Advice
  13. Pain and Anxiety Control (inc. properties of drugs)
  14. Smoking Cessation
  15. Dental Biomaterials

This Unit will include the microbiology/spread of infection and infectious diseases in relation to the Dental Surgery and the methods of Cross Infection Control available in line with current universal/standard precaution protocols and policies such as HTM01-05.

This unit will provide an introduction to the fundamentals of biomedical sciences with relevance specifically to the working practice of the dental hygienist and therapist.

The principles of acute and chronic inflammation and wound healing will form the underpinning knowledge required prior to its application to oral tissues and introduces students to periodontal disease. Examining how periodontal conditions are classified, before moving on to look in detail at chronic gingivitis and chronic periodontitis. This comprises histopathology, aetiology, clinical features, the basics of periodontal treatment and disease progression.

Students will have thorough knowledge of common medical conditions, particularly those of oral significance including their management implications.

The unit encompasses educational principles and methodology within Oral Health Promotion, looking at concepts of health, health behaviour and sociological influences community wide. Containing specific focus on the needs and management of different patient groups including children, adults, older people and those with special care requirements. Communication skills are developed to enable patient assessment, patient consent, treatment and effective team working.

Also develops knowledge of the influence of secondary factors; such as smoking and diet on oral health, as well as providing information on preventive products.


  • To have a knowledge and understanding of the relevant general and regional dental anatomy and physiology
  • To provide the student with the appropriate knowledge to transition into the clinical environment
  • Acquire an understanding of the principles of evidence-based practice and be able to make appropriate decisions on patient care and management using this approach.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  1. To describe relevant and appropriate dental, oral, craniofacial and general anatomy and explain their application to patient management. To describe relevant and appropriate physiology and explain its application to patient management.
  2. Explain the potential routes of transmission of infectious agents in dental practice, mechanisms for the prevention of infection, the scientific principles of decontamination and disinfection and their relevance to health and safety.
  3. To recognise abnormalities of the oral cavity and the rest of the patient and raise concerns where appropriate.
  4. Describe the properties of relevant medicines and therapeutic agents and discuss their application to patient management.
  5. To understand the importance of taking a medical history and how medical conditions can affect patient management.
  6. To understand the management of medical emergencies in the dental surgery.
  7. To understand the classification system used for periodontal conditions. Understand the basic concepts of the indirect and secondary factors which influence the initiation and progression of periodontal disease.
  8. To be able to explain the aetiology, pathogenesis and progression of chronic gingival and periodontal disease. To be able to explain the process of pocket formation and bone-loss in periodontal disease.
  9. Describe oral diseases and their relevance to prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
  10. Explain general and systemic disease and explain their relevance to oral health.
  11. To describe the basic principles of a population health approach including demographic and social trends, UK and international oral health trends, determinants of health and inequalities in health, the ways in which these are measured and current patterns. To describe the principles of planning oral health care for communities to meet needs and demands.
  12. To apply to the practice of dental hygiene, principles that derive from the biomedical behavioural and materials sciences.
  13. Describe the principles of an evidence based approach to learning, clinical and professional practice and decision making.
  14. Be familiar with the role of therapeutics in the management of patients requiring medication as an integral part of their oral care.
  15. Describe the properties of relevant drugs and therapeutic agents for local anaesthesia and alternative methods of pain and anxiety control. Discuss their application to patient management. Be familiar with alternative methods of pain and anxiety control.
  16. Describe the health risks of diet, tobacco and alcohol on oral health and provide appropriate advice referral and support.
  17. Describe the scientific principles underpinning the use of materials and bio-materials and discuss their limitations and selection, with emphasis on those used in dentistry.

Teaching Information

Teaching methods include:

  • Lectures
  • Small group Seminars and tutorials
  • Guided Independent study
  • Continuous Clinical Assessment logbook/portfolio (CCA) including reflective practice

Teaching will use a blended learning approach delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities. Students will be expected to engage with all learning.

Assessment Information

Summative assessments:

1. Foundations of Practice (70% of unit total)

multiple short answer paper - 2 hours

2. Biomaterials e-Assessment (30% of unit total)

e-assessment - 1 hour

Students must pass each assessment to the standard set pass mark for each part of this assessment.

Gateway to first patients e-assessment - assessment of knowledge required to progress to clinic to treat first patients - 1 hour .

Formative Assessments

Students are supported in their learning by a variety of directed formative assessments with which they must engage within this unit. Overall performance will be reviewed and discussed at the School Progress Committee.

Marks obtained in formative assessments above do not contribute to the overall unit mark but failure to complete by the stated end of term deadlines will be raised at the Progress Committee, and may be a barrier to progression.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ORDS10015).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.