Dentistry Implant Day empowers students
UWC dentistry students were boosted when the University’s Department of Conservative Dentistry and the South African Association of Osseointegration (SAAO) hosted the Students Implantology Day recently.
In its fifth year, the event allows specialists in private practice and the major dental implant companies to proffer some of their knowledge and experience without any remuneration to final-year dentistry students. The purpose of the event was to give students insight into and hands-on experience with dental implantology, and to familiarise them with the various dental implant systems.
Dental Implantology is the science of replacing missing teeth with surgical components (usually made out of titanium) that interface with the bone of the jaw or skull to support a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge or denture. They can also be used to support and anchor facial prosthesis such as a prosthetic ear.
Event organisers, Dr Naren Patel and Dr Shabir Cassim, consultant prosthodontists at UWC’s Department of Conservative Dentistry, said dental implantology is rapidly becoming part of mainstream dentistry and their department would like graduates to be familiar with this technology and confident in treating patients requiring dental implants.
This year’s event took place on 13 May at Tygerberg hospital and about 94 students, 74 from UWC and 20 from the neighbouring Cape Peninsula University of Technology, took part.
The event, Cassim noted, has been successful in better equipping dental students for private practice. “They have the opportunity to place the implants in specially prepared models that simulates the experience of surgically placing implants in the jaw bone. They then learn the special techniques of taking dental implant impressions and practically assembling all the various implant components.”
Dr Blackie Swart, chairman of SAAO, previously known as the Cape Society for Dental Implantology, revealed that his organisation has a good relationship with UWC’s Dental Faculty, and that the Student Implant Day is of mutual benefit.
“While the students benefit from this exposure, the private practitioners leave with the goodwill that comes with giving back to the community,” Swart explained.
“We as a dental special interest group - mostly from private practice - are very proud of our local University and would like to strengthen our bonds.”
The organisation is also planning to bring eight internationally-renowned speakers to UWC as part of a pre-conference day prior to its inaugural event in October (24-26) in Cape Town.