The dentistry and oral surgery curriculum for veterinary students offered at the University of Pennsylvania has the following components:
In addition, veterinary students are invited to join resident rounds which consist of weekly one-hour review discussions of the current literature and topics in dentistry and oral surgery.
Core didactic lectures for first- and second-year students (five hours)
Introduction to Clinical Veterinary Medicine I (VMED600): One-hour introduction to oral and dental diseases; presented by Dr. Colin Harvey.
Veterinary Medicine/Surgery I (VMED611): Four hours of small animal diseases of the oral cavity and pharynx; presented by Dr. Colin Harvey.
Elective didactic lectures for third-year students (19 hours)
Small Animal Dentistry (VCSP650): This course is organized by Dr. Alexander Reiter and offered in the spring (fourth quarter) of the third year of the veterinary curriculum. Drs. John Lewis and Colin Harvey and Ms. Bonnie Miller are co-presenters. Building on the oral and dental disease information presented in VMED600 and VMED611, the didactic lectures cover the full spectrum of oral and dental diseases and procedures seen and practiced in small animals, including principles of oral examination, dental cleaning and home oral hygiene; dental radiography; local anesthesia for oral surgery; pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, tooth resorption and stomatitis; techniques of tooth extraction; special species dentistry; endodontics, restorative dentistry and prosthodontics; orthodontics; diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular joint and masticatory muscle pathology; management of head trauma; and oral/maxillofacial oncology. Surgery of the palate, salivary glands and lymph nodes is discussed by Drs. Reiter and Lewis as part of the VCSP646 Small Animal Surgery course. Nutrition and oral disease is covered by Dr. Harvey as part of the VCSP643 Small Animal Clinical Nutrition course. The VCSP650 lecture schedule 2008 and on-line teaching materials are available.
Clinical rotation (two weeks)
Small Animal Dentistry (VCSP817 and VCSP877): This course is organized by Dr. Alexander Reiter and offered throughout the year. Students participate in the clinical examination, treatment planning and treatment of animals presented with oral and dental conditions, including periodontal, endodontic, restorative and occlusive problems, stomatitis, palate defects, jaw fractures and other head trauma, and oral and maxillofacial neoplasia. Monday and Wednesday are clinic appointment days, with rounds in the morning and laboratory courses in the afternoon. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are treatment days. Occasionally, cases are hospitalized into the weekend, and dental and oral surgical emergency cases may be referred from the Emergency Service (ES) on Saturday and Sunday. Responsibility for Saturday and Sunday patient care will consist of being on-call and usually not be greater than one weekend day per student during the two-week rotation. Typically, Monday and Wednesday run from 8:00 a.m.-5.30 p.m. (unless there are cases to SOAP on these mornings), and Tuesday and Thursday from 7:00 a.m.-6.30 p.m. Students will usually have an 8.30 a.m. start on Friday (unless there are cases to SOAP on this morning); Friday responsibilities typically extend to 2:00 p.m., except for one late on-call student. An extensive collection of relevant books, slides, photographs, radiographs and online teaching materials is available. Further information is available on the Dentistry and Oral Surgery Thrive and Survive Guide for veterinary students.
Laboratory course (four three-hour practical sessions)
Structured laboratory sessions are held during the clinical rotation in dentistry and oral surgery and consist of four parts:
- Oral examination, dental cleaning, and basic periodontal therapy: Dental terminology, oral/dental anatomy and tooth numbering systems are discussed. Methods of performing a thorough oral examination are introduced, including extraoral and intraoral structures, teeth and periodontal tissues. Equipment and techniques used to scale and polish teeth are demonstrated. Home oral hygiene methods, including correct tooth brushing and appropriate diets, toys and treats are discussed. Instrument sharpening is demonstrated, and basic techniques of gingival curettage and root planing are practiced.
- Dental radiology and radiographic interpretation: Radiation safety/protection and dental radiographic equipment (machine and films) are reviewed. Patient positioning, radiographic exposure techniques (parallel, bisecting angle), film processing (developing and fixing) and digital image enhancement are demonstrated and practiced using standard and digital radiography. Interpretation of various radiographic presentations of oral and dental disease is discussed.
- Local anesthesia and tooth extraction: Nerve blocks used to provide local anesthesia during dental surgical procedures are demonstrated and practiced. Indications, contraindications, and mechanics of tooth extraction are discussed. Closed and open techniques used to extract single and multi-rooted teeth in dogs and cats and closure of extraction sites are introduced and practiced, along with demonstration of dental surgical instruments and power equipment. Complications of tooth extraction and their management are discussed.
- Basic techniques of oral surgery: Commonly performed minor oral surgical procedures are reviewed and practiced, including management of difficult tooth extractions, techniques for incisional and excisional oral biopsy, flaps for oronasal fistula repair, treatment of lower lip avulsion, and circumferential wiring for mandibular symphyseal separation.
Resident rounds (one hour per week)
The educational experience of dentistry and oral surgery residents is enhanced by participation in weekly 1-hour resident rounds. A mixture of case-based learning, didactic lectures, laboratory sessions and journal reviews provide opportunities for interaction with clinicians and hygienists having 97 years of combined clinical experience. See the resident rounds schedule for more information.