After a one-week introductory course to prepare you for study at university and on the dentistry programme in particular, the remainder of the year is spent studying biomedical sciences and topics relevant to the practice of dentistry. Much effort has been put into making this year absolutely relevant to dentistry. Basic topics such as molecular and cell biology, and basic human systems specific to dentistry, will be covered. Throughout the year a course on applied dental science will introduce you to the clinical aspects of dental studies and show the relevance of the basic sciences. This popular course will introduce you to all aspects of clinical dentistry and haptic technology.
The second year concentrates on the introduction and development of basic dental clinical skills. A state-of-the-art clinical skills facility allows the learning of necessary skills in a safe and non-threatening environment. You will treat patients in the associated NHS trusts with minor gum problems in the first term and in the third term you will begin the restorative care of your own patients to whom you will offer dental care for your whole time at King's College London.
Linked to the practical clinical courses will be biomedical science subjects such as anatomy of the head and neck, oral biology, and you will also develop an understanding of all aspects of the nervous system relevant to dentistry. During this year you will begin learning about all aspects of human disease and this strand of learning will continue for the remainder of your time on the dental programme. This will include topics such as pathology, microbiology and general medicine.
In the third year you continue to learn about all aspects of human disease and this is a major topic in the year. Another major subject area for this year is the replacement of missing teeth. You will learn how this can be done using fixed and removable prostheses including dental implants. There is a technical component to these courses to ensure you understand how they are constructed and how to deal with problems associated with their fit and function. Much time each week is devoted to the clinical care of patients in restorative dentistry that will include specific teaching in conservative dentistry and prosthodontics. You will also begin to learn about and carry out the extraction of teeth and minor oral surgery.
This is a busy year in which you really begin to establish yourself as a dentist.
At the end of Year 3, you will have the opportunity to take an intercalated BSc degree which allows you to pursue the subjects of your choice in greater depth. The advantage of studying at a multi-faculty institution such as King's is that intercalated degrees can be taken in a wide variety of subjects. For example, you may wish to study clinically relevant subjects and related topics such as health services management or psychology as well as more traditional subjects, such as neuroscience and biochemistry. You can even include a foreign language.
In the fourth year of the programme you spend most of the week providing dental care for patients. You will continue to learn about and carry out more advanced procedures in restorative dentistry. During this year major courses in periodontology, child dental healthcare and orthodontics are provided to give you a strong foundation in the subjects.
Time is also spent providing comprehensive care to adult patients. This will continue in Year 5. As you become more proficient at dentistry, patients will be treated under conscious sedation. Learning continues in the human disease strand of the curriculum and you are introduced to an ongoing course in oral disease that will incorporate pathology and medicine directly relevant to disease in and around the mouth. You will be able to treat many patients with more complex dental problems during this year, with specialist teachers on hand to guide you.
The final year of the programme is very much a consolidation year of all you have learned up to this time. You will continue to provide comprehensive dental care for adult and child patients. A specific feature of this programme is the opportunity to work on a regular basis at purpose-built clinics away from the main campus. At these you will work directly with a dental nurse and other dental care professionals, in particular dental hygienists and therapists, learning to work as a team leader in the provision of dental care for your patients.
There is an opportunity each week to spend some time learning about a chosen topic to allow you to develop knowledge of an area in even greater detail than covered in the normal programme. This could include any area in dentistry and there is also the opportunity to learn a new language through the Language Centre of King's College London. There is an elective period of study when you are given the chance to travel anywhere in the United Kingdom, or the world, to learn about how dental care is provided in that region. Limited funding is offered by the College to undertake this period of study away from London. The final year is designed to allow you to develop as a dentist and to ease your transition, upon qualification, into vocational training and general professional training. It also offers the opportunity to flavor the specialist areas of dentistry that may encourage you to specialise after general professional training.