Department of Restorative Dentistry and Comprehensive Care

The Department of Restorative Dentistry and Comprehensive Care supports the education of predoctoral students in the practice of general dentistry through the didactic, preclinical, and clinical components of the First Professional Program and provides advanced study for graduate students through the Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program and Endodontics Residency Program.

The department maintains the school’s Simulation Clinic for preclinical education and the Comprehensive Care Modules (CCM) for the clinical care of adult patients, both of which contribute to the transition from didactic through preclinical to clinical studies.

The Simulation Clinic is a $2.7 million facility comprised of two simulation labs with a total of 80 workstations and 40 additional stations for laboratory technique procedures, accommodating the presentation of three separate courses simultaneously. Each station is equipped with a patient simulator with lifelike movements for preclinical training. Predoctoral students can learn to approach their patients from the left or right, above or behind because the mannequin is positioned like a patient reclining in a dental chair. In addition to standard dental equipment, each station is equipped with a flat screen monitor for viewing instruction and demonstrations. Instructional aids include DVD, VCR, two slide digitizers, intraoral and document cameras, as well as Internet connectivity for distance and/or non-direct learning. A practice version of the school’s electronic health record is accessible in the simulation clinic for experience in documentation prior to entering the patient care areas.

The Comprehensive Care Modules support the clinical component of the First Professional Program curriculum by functioning much like a private practice setting. The program’s clinical facility is comprised of approximately 92 chairs, divided into 4 teams and 5 clinics. Students receive individual curricular schedules, which support exposure to all disciplines of the profession and include patient care, departmental rotations, community-based care, and independent studies or “selective courses.” The team leader oversees the clinical progress of individual predoctoral students via regularly scheduled progress meetings with an emphasis toward competency as a general dentist. Students benefit from direct oversight by team leaders as well as the direct expertise of specialists in endodontics, periodontics, and prosthodontics. Predoctoral students enter the modules from the first term of the first year to gain experience with patients prior to acquiring their own assigned patients during the summer of their second year and then progress through the CCM until graduation.

To assure uniformity of instruction, steps have been taken to vertically integrate teaching in the Simulation Clinic with clinic/patient care instruction activities. This philosophy is maintained from three perspectives. First, a director of the Simulation Clinic is responsible for ensuring that instruction philosophies and dental materials used in the Simulation Clinic are consistent with that taught in the CCM, thereby assuring continuity and uniformity in clinical education over the four years of the First Professional Program. Second, supportive and enthusiastic CCM faculty supervise the treatment of patients in the modules with restorative procedures and treatment planning, and third, CCM faculty who currently supervise patient care activities are assigned to teach in the Simulation Clinic to strengthen the integration of clinical and preclinical instruction. This approach provides autonomy of philosophy and dental materials across the didactic, preclinical, and clinical curricula. It is the intention that this repetition of theory will allow for an accelerated path toward clinical experience leading to proficiency. In addition, all third- and fourth-year predoctoral students are enrolled in a course titled Clinical Responsibility, which emphasizes professionalism, ethics, preparation for patient care, patient care activity, patient scheduling, patient assignment, business office compliance, and quality assurance procedures.

Dr. Michael Dobos
University of Pittsburgh
School of Dental Medicine
3023 Salk Hall
3501 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Phone: (412) 648-8651