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Unit information: Health sciences: Dental Biomaterials in 2014/15

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Unit name Health sciences: Dental Biomaterials
Unit code ORDS20007
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Barbour
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Dental School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Year 2 One element - Dental Biomaterials

Biomaterials are central to many processes in modern dentistry, and it is essential that dental students and qualified dentists have a thorough knowledge and understanding of both modern dental biomaterials, and the principles which lie behind the development and use of these and future biomaterials.


  • To produce a graduate who has the ability to select and handle biomaterials in a safe, cost effective and clinically appropriate manner.
  • To produce a graduate who can evaluate current and future biomaterials in the light of a sound knowledge of basic materials and biomaterials science.
  • To produce a graduate who can obtain appropriate information about biomaterials and communicate relevant information to peers, patients and the lay public.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students should be able to:

  • Discuss the mechanical, physical, chemical and biological properties of some common dental biomaterials, and relate these to the likely clinical performance of these materials
  • Describe the composition of some common dental biomaterials and the chemical reactions they undergo during clinical processes, and relate these to the clinical applications and limitations of these biomaterials
  • Describe and explain the most common reasons for failure of dental biomaterials, including adverse reactions that can occur between different materials
  • Explain the science behind the different storage, handling, working, and disposal methods for different dental biomaterials
  • Critically evaluate manufacturers’ claims for existing and new dental biomaterials.

Teaching Information

  • Interactive lectures with live eAssessment and eLectures (8 each)
  • Giant tutorials (2)
  • Laboratory practical sessions assessed by written reports (4)
  • eTutorials (12)
  • Problem-based learning team project (8 weeks) assessed by oral presentation

Assessment Information


  • End-of-element eAssessment examination. 60min, range of question types. 70% of total Unit mark.
  • Four written reports on practical sessions. There is no word limit but a proforma is used to create the report, and detailed guidelines and the teachers’ marking guidelines are made available to the students in the interests of transparency. 20% of total Unit mark.
  • Problem-based learning project. Students work throughout term as a team of 4/5 to create an oral presentation on a subject. The presentation is given a team mark by the teacher and then marks are distributed among the students by the students themselves, hence it is part teacher assessed, part peer assessed. 10% of total Unit mark.


  • Weekly 10 min progress tests using question styles and subject matter similar to that used in the exam.
  • Live eAssessments during interactive lectures using Turning Point eVoting handsets.

Reading and References

van Noort R. Introduction to dental materials. 4th ed. Elsevier Mosby; 2013. ISBN 9780723436591.