At a time when Glasgow dental health records are at an all time low, there is growing concern in the community of dental students about the lack of volunteers at Glasgow Dentistry School. The Dentistry School and Hospital, located on Sauchiehall Street, has seen a decline in the number of students visiting the practice, leaving students without the vital experience needed for their course.
From third year onwards, dentistry students begin practicing on patients and this time with patients counts is an essential experience that dentistry students require. The free procedures range from check ups to fillings and root canal treatment and are performed by students under the supervision of qualified dental clinicians.
Although experience does not count towards credits per say, rather ReCAF points, it is a very important part of dentistry students’ studies as students are expected to present patient cases as part of the final year exams.
One second year dentistry student who wishes to remain anonymous has expressed concern about the situation now and for next year when they will be expected to begin giving treatments.
“There’s a massive lack of patients in the dentist school here. Older students have no experience because there’s barely any patients coming to the school. People have had to bring in friends for scales and polishes just to fill up their time in clinics. Essentially, without patients we have no practice. If more people came it would not only help us, but the students would benefit too with free treatment.”
When asked whether the University does enough to advertise the free dental procedures, the student wished the University would do more to advertise the Dentistry School.
The University has said: “The Dental School provides high-quality training to more than 400 students every year. Free dental treatment by students is part of this training and we consider a variety of ways to recruit participants to meet the students’ needs. Part of this involves advertising, and the manner and extent of this is constantly under review to ensure that sufficient numbers come forward. For example we take space on the plasma screens across campus.”
Not all dentistry students are concerned, however. Some think that there are enough patients available and that part of the blame lies with the students themselves.
Another dentistry student told the Glasgow Guardian: “My friend in fourth year thinks the situation is improving from last year at least and the University has been putting a few ads in newspapers. But it is sometimes down to students not booking in patients. In fourth year morning clinics it is a bit quieter but the afternoon clinics are quite full.”
Appointments are available with a dental student from Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm during term time and is dependant on the type of treatment required. Anyone interested in receiving one free course of dental treatment by dentistry students can contact Debbie Bear on 0141 232 6323.