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Unit information: Primary Care Dentistry Year 3 in 2021/22

Unit name Primary Care Dentistry Year 3
Unit code ORDS30003
Credit points 50
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Fleming
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Dental School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit aims to translate student clinical care from the skills environment to the clinical setting. It aims to progress and expand the student’s experience throughout the course in the management of patients within a range of clinical dental treatment settings.

The unit is comprised of four elements:

  • Restorative Dentistry
  • Oral Surgery
  • Child Dental Health
  • Community Based Dental Teaching

The majority of the learning within the Unit occurs during supervised treatment sessions where the student communicates with and carries out prescribed treatment for patients under staff supervision.


  • To translate and consolidate knowledge and skills gained in the clinical skills settings to the clinical environment and to learn from and apply knowledge from an evidence-based understanding of dental health and disease.
  • To gain an insight into integration of dental care into the wider health care setting.
  • To participate as a member of the wider dental team as a dental assistant and to begin to appreciate the role and responsibilities in the team of the dental surgeon whilst working as a dental operator.
  • To begin to understand how subjects within teaching specialities inter-relate.


By the end of Year 3 students will be able to:

  • Assist and support student colleagues undertaking clinical procedures and in completing treatment plans under staff supervision in both the dental school setting and in the community based teaching clinic
  • Apply knowledge and skills relating to management and treatment of straightforward restorative procedures for adult and child patients under supervision
  • Understand the principles required for straightforward dental extractions and perform dental extractions under supervision

Be familiar with assessment and management of straightforward orthodontic considerations for child patients.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of Year 3 a successful student should obtain knowledge and understanding in the following areas of primary dental care:

In all disciplines students should be able to:

  1. Identify the roles of the dental team members and work as both operator and assistant at the dental chairside (1.2.1; 1.2.2; bullet points 1-3 of 4.1; 8.1; 8.2).
  2. Prepare a clinical area for patient treatment (1.8.1; 1.8.2).
  3. Record a contemporaneous, clear and concise patient history and examination (1.8.7) and recognise a healthy dentition and be able to evaluate health risks relating to commonly occurring diseased or compromised dentitions (1.10.7; 3.3; 5.1).
  4. Recognize the importance of follow-up care (1.9.4; 1.10.6)

In Restorative Dentistry students should be able to:

  1. Define diseases of the dental hard tissues and their supporting structures (1.1.5)
  2. Apply preventive and treatment regimes to address periodontal disease, dental caries and injury to the dental pulp with minimal intervention (1.10.2; 1.11.2; 1.14.3; 1.14.4; 1.14.5)
  3. Classifying missing teeth and understand the need for replacement, recognizing features of the edentulous and partially edentulous mouth relevant to the provision of removable prostheses (1.5.1) Request simple work from and alongside dental laboratory services (8.2).
  4. Clinically apply knowledge of drugs, therapeutic agents and dental materials (gained in other themes) administered/used routinely to patients requiring basic prevention and restorative clinical intervention (1.1.9, 1.1.10)
  5. Assess common causes of pain of dental origin and its management (1.9.2) and undertake straightforward endodontic procedures in a risk free environment for single and two rooted teeth (1.14.6; 1.14.8; 1.14.9).
  6. Undertake straight forward single tooth extra-coronal restorations (1.14.5).

In Oral Surgery students should be able to:

  1. Describe medical emergencies that can occur in dental practice and summarize the standard management of medical emergencies that can occur in dental practice (1.8.6)
  2. Describe the anatomy of the head and neck in relation to anaesthesia for dental treatment (1.1.6) and explain the pharmacological effects of local anaesthesia (1.1.9). Safely administer local anaesthesia for dental treatment in both the maxilla and mandible (clinical 1.7.5)
  3. Name commonly used instruments in Oral Surgery and identify appropriate usage for straight forward dental extractions
  4. Demonstrate extraction techniques and appropriate tooth movement on a phantom head for removal of permanent teeth (theoretical knowledge of 1.12.7)

In Child Dental Health students should be able to:

  1. Define normal childhood development and behaviour patterns (1.1.13).
  2. Describe the developing dentition and assess crowding/spacing (1.13.1; 1.13.3)
  3. Take a history from a child patient with an accompanying adult (1.2.1) and describe dental health promotion teaching material (1.10.2).
  4. Deliver preventive advice and restorative care for children with straightforward needs (1.10.3; 1.10.5)
  5. Identify common local factors which can cause malocclusion (1.13.1)
  6. Recognise variations in skeletal patterns and be able to describe key landmarks on cephalometric radiographs and their significance. Recognise the need for and take orthodontic records (1.13.2)
  7. Describe the biological and mechanical principles underlying orthodontic treatment with removable and fixed appliances and identify the biomechanical limitations (1.13.4).
  8. Observe / assist with clinical care of orthodontic patients.

In Community Based Teaching, in addition to aims set out in other disciplines within the Unit, students should be able to:

  1. Recognize the impact of social background on patterns of dental needs and disease and access of dental care (6.5).
  2. Develop time management skills (10.2).
  3. Undertake dental assisting and administrative tasks relating to patient care in a general practice setting.

Teaching Information

A range of teaching are used in the unit including:


  • Predominantly didactic teaching, with some student interaction, for theory teaching.

Tutorials * Small group teaching may take place immediately before a clinical session with particular emphasis in Year 3 on the clinical professional and knowledge domains set out by the General Dental Council (GDC).

  • In some disciplines nominated students are expected to lead a tutorial with a presentation on a specified subject to generate discussion amongst the group which will be led by teaching staff. Tutorials running with specified programmes are identified in Element handbooks and timetables are posted on blackboard.
  • In other disciplines tutorial time is dedicated to review of the clinical management of patients booked in the clinical session.

Self-directed learning.

  • Guidance may be given during tutorials or clinical teaching sessions but students are expected to consolidate learning for themselves through self-directed learning

Chairside teaching during supervised direct patient care

  • The teaching method predominantly used in this Unit is that of chairside teaching, supervision and feedback. At the beginning of each clinical session students discuss the treatment they are going to carry out during that session in the light of the overall treatment plan for their patients with their nominated supervisor. At the end of the session they reflect on clinical management with their supervisors.

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


Continuous assessment on clinic using a predetermined standard assessment scheme with immediate feedback to the student. Each student to complete a logbook/portfolio during the course with opportunity to reflect on progress during and at the end of the Unit. Student's overall performance will be monitored and discussed at the School Progress committee.


  • OSCE mapped to Unit learning outcomes. (50% of Unit total).
  • E-assessment exam, using multi format e-format questioning. Knowledge assessment mapped to Unit learning outcomes. (50% of Unit total)


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. ORDS30003).

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.