It is not longer news that majority of people do not know about dentistry nor about their dental health. This is why Edublog9ja have decided to create this article to enlighten Nigerian students, aspirants and our followers about Dentistry and Dental Surgery in Nigerian universities.
Dentistry & dental surgery is a branch of medicine that deals with the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the oral cavity. Dentistry is not only limited to the teeth and its structures but extends to the head and neck region of the body. This include the maxillofacial region and associated structures.
Dentistry and Dental Surgery is a six year undergraduate training course in Nigerian Universities and students are awarded the BDS(Bachelor of Dental Surgery) degree. Dentistry and Dental Surgery is a five year programme for students admitted through direct entry. The degree is awarded after completing the undergraduate program in any accredited university in Nigeria. The university offering dentistry and dental surgery course in Nigeria must be accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria(MDCN).
The first year of the undergraduate training in dentistry and dental surgery is known as Premedical. In this level, students of the faculty of dentistry are regulated by the faculty of sciences in various universities in Nigeria. They are taught basic sciences like physics, chemistry and biology plus other faculty of sciences courses. After the end of each academic semester in their first year, they write exams and the grading point is based on Cumulative Grade Point(CGP) .And at the end of the Academic year, the CGPs for first semester will be added to the second semester to get the average point called Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). Different universities in Nigeria have different minimum CGPA requirements + other requirements before the student can proceed to 2nd year.
The Second year and 3 year is called Preclinicals. The duration of this level ranges from one year six month(18 months) or at most two years (not more than 24 months). This is university dependent as different schools have different medical academic calendar. In these levels, students of the faculty of dentistry are regulated by the faculty of basic medical sciences. They are taught basic medical courses available in basic medical school and courses includes Anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. The courses listed are universities dependent. Some schools start doing dental courses from second year of the dental surgery programme. These course are subdivided into other courses. At this level, CGPA is not longer in use. Grading is by cumulative summation of the scores they had during their semesters exams and this constitute about 30% of their total scores. This means that all the exams written at this stage are converted to continuous assessments which is 30%. At the end of the academic year, students are write their 1st professional examination also know as Part 1 BDS exams. The BDS exams is 70%. Exams is centered on anatomy , physiology and biochemistry. This is also university dependent. Students must pass the exams to proceed to the fourth year. If unsuccessful and pass the require score for a resit exams, they will write a resit exams. If the student did not have the required score for a resit exams, the candidate will be advised to withdraw or change programme. When successful, students will proceed to the fourth year.
The fourth year is known as clinical 1. It centers on the practical aspects of dental medicine. Duration is about 1 year to 1 year, 6 months (18 months). Duration is dependent on a particular university. Students are taught courses like Pharmacology and Laboratory Medicine. The courses taught are also university dependent. Courses are subdivided into other courses. For example, laboratory medicine is divided into Chemical Pathology, Haematology, Histopathology, Medical Microbiology and Parasitology. Individuals courses offered at this stage may differ depending on the teaching calender of a particular university. Continuous assessments are taken during each academic semester. Students are posted to do clinical rotations in teaching hospital owned by the school. Students should know how to communicate with patients during their posting. At the end of the Academic year, students write their part 2 BDS examination and if successful proceed to the fifth year.
In the fifth year and sixth year being clinical 2 and clinical 3 respectively, dental students study courses like Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine and Pathology, Dental Radiology, Child Dental Health, Orthodontics, Community Dentistry
Prosthodontics, ophthalmology, E.N.T,, Oral biology, Prosthodontics, Science of Dental Materials, Operative Technique, Paediatric Surgery, Neurosurgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Therapeutics of Common Medical & Surgical Disorders etc. This comes with clinical rotations in different departments in the teaching hospital. They write continuous assessments and their professional exams regarded as the part 3 BDS exams and part 4 BDS in fifth year. They write their final part 5 BDS exams in the sixth year and graduate out of medical school.
The Faculty of Dentistry in Nigerian Universities is made up of Five Departments and these are:
- Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Department of Oral Pathology and Oral Medicine
- Department of Child Dental Health
- Department of Preventive Dentistry
- Department of Restorative Dentistry
NOTE – Some classes in medical school can be divided into A and B. This is usually applicable to clinical classes. This is due to students having seniors who have not yet written their professional exams to move to the next class. The new students in a particular clinical class are referred to as B. While the seniors in the same class are referred to as A.
After passing the final part of the BDS exams, the University will organize an induction ceremony to celebrate their completion of the BDS program. Induction is a formal introduction of graduate doctors or health care professionals into their respective profession. During induction ceremony, they are given license of practice by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria(MDCN). They also take an oath to abide by the ethics of the dental profession and this is contained in the hippocratic oath.
The next step is going for the compulsory one year Housemanship programme for doctors. During Housemanship, dental surgeons will be working under the supervision of the senior doctor or consultant/specialist in charge of a particular unit. The next step is followed by the compulsory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
With the BDS degree, the newly graduated dental doctors or dental surgeons are well equipped for careers in Government hospitals, private practice, teaching and research in Universities or Research Institutes and Administration.
They are also qualified for post-graduate training or residency training anywhere in the world by writing the appropriate qualifications or admission examinations. Residency programme is a programme for dentist who want to specialize in a particular field of dentistry. After the residency programme, the doctors will now be consultants/specialists in their various fields.
So this is a brief overview of dentistry and dental surgery programme in Nigerian Universities. Thanks for reading.