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Trinity College Dublin


Course Description

The Postgraduate Prosthodontics Programme prepares the student for the clinical practice of prosthodontics at specialist level and provides the basis for continuing professional development after completion of the programme. There is an emphasis on complex reconstructive and aesthetic treatment using fixed, removable and implant prostheses. The prosthodontics programme is approved by the Irish Committee for Specialist Training in Dentistry and recognised by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) as preparation for the Fellowship in Prosthodontics (FFD RCSI).

The programme is 3 years full time, leading to the award of the Professional Doctorate in Dental Surgery degree (D.Ch.Dent.) by Trinity College. This consists of core academic courses, specialist training in prosthodontics and a research thesis. The ‘core courses’ are common to all D.Ch.Dent. programmes and relate the specialist training to the wider background of biology, clinical management, and science. Overall, students will spend approximately 60% of the programme in clinical training; 20% of the course is devoted to didactic learning and teaching, and 20% consists of the research project.

Entry Requirements

Prospective students must meet the entry requirements for Trinity College and the Prosthodontics programme. Applicants are required to:

  • hold a recognised degree in dentistry for at least 2 years and have documented evidence of general professional training—this would normally include the MFD/MFDS, or equivalent
  • have excellent communication skills, including written and conversational english
  • attend for interview and information session, normally during April/May in the year for which they have applied

Course outline

D.Ch.Dent. Prosthodontics ECTS—Summary

Module Course Y1 Y2 Y3 Total
4 CLINICAL PRACTICE 30 45 35 110
7 RESEARCH & THESIS 12 24 30 65
Total 270

Module 1:

Advanced Dental Sciences

Module 2:

Prosthodontics Literature

  • Introduction to Prosthodontics
  • Classical Prosthodontic Literature
  • Current Prosthodontic Literature
  • Introduction to Oral Implantology Part A

Module 3:

Laboratory Skills

  • Introductory Laboratory-based Course in Prosthodontics
  • Dental Occlusion and Function
  • Dental Bioengineering and Dental Materials Part A
  • Dental Bioengineering and Dental Materials Part B

Module 4:

Clinical Practice

  • Introduction to Oral Implantology Part B
  • Clinical Practice in Prosthodontics and Implant Dentistry

Module 5:

Interdisciplinary Care

  • Endodontics and Dental Trauma
  • Clinical Practice in Maxillofacial Prosthodontics
  • Integrated Orthodontic-Restorative Treatment

Module 6:

Presentation & Documentation

  • Teaching of Prosthodontics
  • Clinical Conference in Prosthodontics and Implant Dentistry

Module 7:

Research & Thesis

Assessment forms an important part of the student’s progress through the Postgraduate Prosthodontics Programme. The main purpose of assessment is ensure that students are progressing appropriately in all aspects of the course. It is intended that any problems would be identified early and remedial action taken. Students must complete their assessments on time in order to rise with their class or to graduate (see below).

Assessment components

Exam paper: this consists of six questions—two given per term and based on the literature reviewed during that term. This is an ‘open book’ type of examination, where students will have access to the library, computers, notes, etc. and a maximum of six hours will be allowed to complete each set of two questions.

Bench test: at the end of first year students have a formal test of operative skill, based on procedures learned during the year. This test consists of tooth preparations on a typodont, where students are expected to display a high degree of technical competence

Unseen patient: at the end of second year students will perform a clinical examination of an ‘unseen patient’ where they are expected to collect appropriate information and formulate a diagnosis and treatment plan specific for the patient, including viable treatment options. Students will be assessed on their clinical judgement and decision making skills.

Seen patient: third year students are expected to present a patient for whom they have provided comprehensive prosthodontic treatment during their training programme. The student will be expected to critically evaluate the treatment provided, explain their rationale for treatment decisions, and propose a maintenance programme and prognosis.

Case presentation: each student presents a documented case of a patient in their care by means of slides, notes and casts (details are contained in the curriculum document). Assessment will be on the quality of the information presented, the rationale for treatment decisions and the quality of work completed, as well as the ability to meet patient expectations and instill a good appreciation of oral health in patients.

Logbooks: a written and photographic record of patients treated by each student is considered an important component of prosthodontic training. Students will be expected to keep an up-to-date logbook of all patients under their care and to present this on request by the programme director; it is formally assessed at the end of each year.

Clinical conferences: during the year each student is scheduled to present a number of patients for discussion among staff and fellow students. The format and criteria are similar to that of the end-of –year case presentations (above). However, this is a less formal setting and students are encouraged to present complex or interdisciplinary cases at various stages of treatment in order to generate discussion. A grade is awarded based on the overall quality of presentations throughout the year.

Research: the timely completion and publication of the research dissertation is the desired outcome of the student’s research experience. It is important to begin the research project early in the first year, and continue progress throughout the course.

Assessment weighting summary (% of grade for each component)

Core course Clinical
Case present Logbook Clinical
Y1 25 30 10 10 10 10 5 100
Y2 25 10 10 10 25 10 10 100
Y3 25 15 10 30 10 10 100

Course Staff

Course Director
Programme Director : Professor B. O’Connell B.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., F.A.C.P., F.T.C.D., F.F.D.R.C.S.I.
Prof. O’Connell received his undergraduate degree in dentistry at the National University of Ireland, Cork and postgraduate training in Prosthodontics and PhD at the Eastman Dental Center-University of Rochester, New York. He continued his work as a Principal Investigator at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Prof. O’Connell is currently Professor of Restorative Dentistry with a clinical emphasis on multidisciplinary care. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He has published and lectured widely on Prosthodontics and Implantology.

Associate Director : Dr. F. Houston, B.D.S.,M.A.,F.D.S.R.C.P.S. Glas,F.F.D.R.C.S.I.
Senior Lecturer/Consultant in Restorative Dentistry
Prosthodontic Clinical Teachers :
Dr. G. Cleary B.A.,B.Dent.Sc.,M.Sc.D.
Part-Time Lecturer (Prosthodontics)
Dr. M. O’Sullivan B.Dent Sc, M.Sc, F.F.D.R.C.S.I, FDS RCS Ed, PhD
Senior Lecturer/Consultant (Restorative Dentistry)
Dr. C. Sugrue B.D.S.(N.U.I.),M.S.(ROCH)
Part-Time Lecturer (Prosthodontics)
Dr. A.Gunderman D.D.S., M.S.(U. Texas)
Part-Time Lecturer (Prosthodontics)
Professor W. Mc Devitt B.D.S.(N.U.I.),Ph.D.,F.D.S.R.C.S.Ed.,F.F.D.R.C.S.I
Retired Professor in Prosthetic Dentistry
Dr. D. Harris L.D.S., FDS RCSEng, F.F.D.R.C.S.I., LRCP Lon, MRCS Eng
Part-Time Senior Lecturer (Implantology)
Dr. O. Omer B.D.S.(KHART),STAT EXAM (Irel. & U.K.) M.Sc.(MANC),Ph.D.(MANC),F.F.D.R.C.S.I.,C.C.S.T.
Consultant in Maxillofacial Prosthetics

Associated Clinical Teachers:
Dr. T. Garvey, B.A.,B.DENT.Sc.,M.Sc.(LOND.),D.ORTH.R.C.S.,F.D.S.R.C.P.S.GLAS.,M.ORTH. R.C.S.
Senior Lecturer/Consultant in Orthodontics
Dr. M.F. Howley B.Dent.Sc.,M.Sc.Endo.
Part-Time Lecturer (Endodontics)

Recent publications
The following are some of the studies published by students of the Prosthodontic programme:

Canning T, Houston F, O’Connell BC and O’Sullivan M. Investigating the skeletal pattern in determining articulator settings for prosthodontic rehabilitation: an in vivo study. Int. J Prosthod. In Press

Sharkey S, Kelly A, Houston FJ, O’Sullivan M, Quinn F and O’Connell BC. A Radiographic Analysis of Implant Component Misfit. Int. J. Oral Maxfac. Implant. In Press

Condon, M, Houston F, O’Connell BC and O’Sullivan M.Maxillary anterior tooth dimensions and proportions in an Irish young adult population. J. Oral Rehab. In Press

Fitzgerald M, O’Sullivan M, O’Connell BC, Houston F. Accuracy of bone mapping and guided flapless implant placement in human cadavers using a model-based planning procedure. Int. J. Oral. Maxfac. Implants. 2010. 25(5): 999-1006

Brennan M. Houston F, O’Sullivan M, O’Connell BC. Patient satisfaction and oral health related quality of life outcomes of implant overdentures and fixed complete dentures. Int. J. Oral. Maxfac. Implants.2010 25(4):791-800

Brennan M. Houston F, O’Sullivan M, O’Connell BC. Demographics of Implant Placement and Complications of a Patient Sub-Group in a Dental Hospital Population. J. Irish. Dent. Assoc. 2010 56(2):85-92

Hashem A, O’Connell B, Nunn J, O’Connell A, Garvey T and O’Sullivan M. Tooth agenesis in patients referred to an Irish tertiary care clinic for developmental dental disorders. J. Irish Dent. Assoc. 2010 56(1):23-7

Kim Jung Ho, McAuliffe P, O’Connell B, Diamond D and Lau KT. Development of wireless bruxism monitoring device based on pressure-sensitive polymer. 2010 Sensors and Actuators A 163: 2

Brennan, M., O’Connell, B., O’Sullivan, M. Multiple Dental Fractures Following Tongue Barbell Placement: a Case Report. 2006 Dental Traumatology 22(1):41-43

Davis, S.T. and O’Connell, B.C. The Effect of Two Root Canal Sealers on the Retention of Glass Fibre Endodontic Posts. 2007. J. Oral Rehab 34:468-73

Hashem, A.A., Claffey, N.C. and O’Connell, B.C. Pain and Anxiety Following the Placement of Dental Implants. Int. J. Oral. Maxfac. Implants. 2006 Nov-Dec;21(6):943-50