DENT 7273B - Specialist Clinical Special Needs Dentistry II Part 2

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2022

Special Needs Dentistry is that part of Dentistry concerned with the oral health of people adversely affected by intellectual disability, medical, physical or psychiatric issues. The University of Adelaide's postgraduate program in Special Needs Dentistry is of three years duration and leads to the degree of Doctor of Clinical Dentistry. This is a specific program plan designed to lead to specialist registration in the field of Special Needs Dentistry. The program plan comprises a mix of coursework, clinical work, action/clinical research, research training and a research project and is designed to conform to the Educational Requirements of the Board of Studies in Special Needs Dentistry of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code DENT 7273B
    Course Specialist Clinical Special Needs Dentistry II Part 2
    Coordinating Unit Dental
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 24
    Contact Up to 19 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites DENT 7273A
    Restrictions Doctor of Clinical Dentistry only
    Course Description Special Needs Dentistry is that part of Dentistry concerned with the oral health of people adversely affected by intellectual disability, medical, physical or psychiatric issues. The University of Adelaide's postgraduate program in Special Needs Dentistry is of three years duration and leads to the degree of Doctor of Clinical Dentistry. This is a specific program plan designed to lead to specialist registration in the field of Special Needs Dentistry. The program plan comprises a mix of coursework, clinical work, action/clinical research, research training and a research project and is designed to conform to the Educational Requirements of the Board of Studies in Special Needs Dentistry of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ms Sharon Liberali

    Program Director
    Associate Professor Sharon Liberali (Special Needs Specialist)

    Academic Staff
    Professor Lindsay Richards (Prosthodontist)
    A/Professor Paul Sambrook (Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon)
    Professor Richard Logan (Oral Pathologist)
    Prof Sam Gue (Paediatric Specialist)
    Dr Andrew Cheng (Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon)

    Contributing Staff
    Dr Mark Gryst (Visiting Consultant/Special Needs Specialist)
    Dr Dymphna Cudmore (Clinical Leader/Dentist–Aged Care/SRF)
    Dr Mira Holowiecki (Clinical Leader/Dentist – TQEH)
    Ms Margie Steffens (Senior SND Hygienist – SRF/Homeless)
    Ms Claire McNally (Senior SND Hygienist – Med Compromised)
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    More information is available on MyUni.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    The learning outcomes for the year are to provide students with the skills and knowledge to progress into the higher years of the course.

    1. Development of the necessary advanced clinical skills expected of a specialist in Special Needs Dentistry
    2. Appreciation of the scientific basis for successful clinical specialist practice
    3. Development of scientific and research methodology relating to clinical specialist practice
    4. Development research skills related to clinical specialist practice

    Ultimately, the learning outcome is to provide students with the abilities to practice independent clinical special needs dentistry.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Textbooks, scientific journal, website, Eleanor Harrold Library, University of Adelaide Library, MyUni, access to materials to undertake research, Adelaide Dental Hospital Special Needs Unit, The Queen Elizabeth Special Needs Dental Unit , Royal Adelaide Hospital including Theatre complex, Women’s and Children’s Hospital Dental Unit and Community Dental clinics of SA Dental Service.
    Recommended Resources
    Recommended resources for the course are a high level of commitment and dedication to special needs dentistry.
    Online Learning
    Minimal online learning is applicable to this course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The University of Adelaide's postgraduate program in Special Needs Dentistry is a three-year full time course that provides advanced study and training in all areas of this specialty. At the completion of the program Graduates will be prepared for specialty practice in the public and private sector, or academia and research.

    The curriculum is conducted over three years (six semesters, two 24 week semesters per year in accord with the University calendar). Postgraduate Students attend the course continuously throughout each year. Typically about two weeks of leave are available during the period when the Adelaide Dental Hospital is partially closed over the Christmas/New Year period.

    While clinics and research projects continue in the inter-semester breaks, the lecture/seminar program is limited to the semesters. The structure of the current program is comprised of didactic, clinical and research components, delivered over the three-year full time course of study. In accord with national and international benchmarks, the distribution of these components during each year is approximately two-third course work (50% clinical experience, 17% didactic instruction) and one-thirds research-type activities, with evidence-based learning underpinning the acquisition of knowledge.

    Candidates must attend research seminars, training courses and meetings, coursework seminars, clinical sessions and other relevant courses as required by the Program Director. Candidates will be expected to maintain a logbook of clinical cases treated throughout their candidature that summarises the clinical work performed in the principal subject areas for presentation to the examiners at interim and final clinical examinations.

    Candidates must also complete research training, specified research activites and a minor research project.
    The program is divided into two principal components:

    1. Structured Program
    • Research methods, experimental design and ethics
    • Coursework
    • Clinical experience
    • Professional development

    2. Research
    • Research seminars
    • Research training
    • Research project

    Research methods, experimental design and ethics This course is presented in a series of seminars during the first six months of the program. It consists of a series of lectures, seminars and workshops that provide an introduction to research literature, research methods, critical thought, management of research data, ethics and other relevant topics required to undertake research.

    Course work includes clinical teaching, assigned reading for weekly seminars, student prepared guided assignments/essays, case reports and on-line lectures to enable students to gain knowledge in the areas of patient examination, diagnosis, treatment planning, and management in Special Needs Dentistry, and a range of Special Needs Dentistry techniques. The seminars are conducted in a journal club format with a primary focus on current literature but the foundational evidence base is also incorporated so that topics of interest may be explored in depth.
    The list of seminar topics is specifically designed to provide a focus for further guided study using problem based learning to encourage students to develop skills that enable a critical assessment of the evidence base, the clinical practice of Special Needs Dentistry. 

    Students will also have an opportunity to participate in a range of interdisciplinary seminars with post-graduate students enrolled at the University of Adelaide in other Dental specialty training programs, as well as those enrolled in Medicine and Allied Health programs.

    There is also an opportunity to participate in monthly or bi-monthly seminars (8 per academic year) with post-graduate students enrolled in specialist training programs in Special Needs Dentistry at the University of Sydney, University of Queensland and the University of Melbourne. 

    Clinical Teaching 
    Clinical experience is provided in the Special Needs Unit, Adelaide Dental Hospital (ADH) under the supervision of staff of the University of Adelaide and SA Dental Service, as well as other major teaching hospitals where Special Needs Dental Units exist including The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH), and Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH). Clinical experience may also occur at community dental clinics of the SA Dental Service, and other locations including supported residential facilities and the at Common Ground complex as part of the University of Adelaide’s community outreach program.
    Advanced Clinical Practice I, II and III, held in Years 1-3, are the specialist clinical training courses of the DClinDent program in Special Needs Dentistry. These courses have both theoretical and clinical components, and are designed to foster the development of advanced clinical skills in the full scope of Special Needs Dentistry that are required for practice at specialist level. As students gain experience and competence they are expected to manage a wider range of individuals with special needs at a specialist standard, including treatment using sedation or general anaesthesia as appropriate.

    All students are rostered to a minimum of five clinical sessions per week, with interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary patient care forming part of the clinical experience. Students will interface with medical and surgical units of the Royal Adelaide Hospital and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

    All students are required to participate in one undergraduate clinical teaching session per week and to attend clinical meetings. Students will adopt a holistic approach to the delivery of patient care, and take responsibility for identifying, implementing and monitoring their own learning goals as they work across these different clinical environments. Undertaking clinical work across different facilities is compulsory for successful completion of the program, and an essential part of Special Needs Dentistry.

    Professional Development
    Participation in continuing education courses The ANZ Academy of Special Needs Dentistry is the representative specialist body for specialists in SND, and therefore postgraduate students (who have a class of membership) are encouraged to become Student Members. Students will be encouraged to attend international SND meetings and, where appropriate, present clinical and research reports at conferences including those organized by the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Special Needs Dentistry (ANZASND), Australian Society of Special Care Dentistry (ASSCID), New Zealand Society of Hospital and Community Dentistry (NZSHCD), International Association of Disability and Oral Health (iADH), and Special Care Dental Association (SCDA).

    Research Training and Research Project
    This component of the program is designed to provide training in the developmental and practical elements of biomedical research. It is based on the philosophy of research as the basis of biomedical science. Students will be asked to evaluate published, current and future research as the basis of clinical practice with the expectation of research forming the platform for life-long learning.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The workload model is based on 24 teaching weeks per semester and has an approximately work load of 37.5 hours per week. This is a guide only and will vary depending on topics and the students understanding.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Clinical Component: 5-6 clinical sessions per week
    Seminar/tutorial (Diagnosis, treatment planning and case reviews): 1 per week/semester
    Contemporary Didactic Seminars: 1 per week/semester

    Didactic seminars are based on the requirements of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (RACDS) and also the iADH Special Needs/Care Dentistry postgraduate curriculum document which details 8 key areas required for didactic study and clinical experience:

    • The Professional, Political and Ethical Context of Special Care Dentistry
    • Impairment, disability and oral health
    • Medical sciences related to special needs dentistry
    • Psychology related to special Needs dentistry
    • Dental public health and oral health promotion
    • Oral health care planning and teamwork
    • Clinical special needs dentistry
    • Research and governance
    Specific Course Requirements
    To be advised by course co-ordinator on commencement.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Details will be made available on MyUni.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    To be advised by course co-ordinator on commencement.
    Assessment Detail
    Formative Review
    Postgraduate students are assessed continuously throughout their training through regular formative review with senior teaching and clinical staff however the emphasis of the program is on self motivated learning and evaluation. Assessment includes an overview of clinical case mix, amount of clinical experience and standard of patient care. Deficient areas are discussed with clinical supervisors and remedied together with the postgraduate student. In all years, students are assessed on a continuing basis in the conduct of the research project, clinics and seminars. In addition they are expected to complete assignments on aspects of the seminar topics.

    Summative Assessment

    Students will receive continuous assessment of their clinical work, assignments, seminar involvement and seminar presentations. Formal barrier, written, viva-voce and clinical examinations will be undertaken at the mid point of the program (end Semester 1, Year 2). Comprehensive written, viva voce and oral examinations conducted by internal and external examiners will be held in October / November of the 3rd year, with the inclusion of an exit interview at the end of this year. Twelve “achievement” case reports selected by the student are required at the end of the 3rd year.

    The principle of the “achievement” case reports is to ensure a broad range of clinical cases have been managed, detailing treatment provided and supported by current research literature. The reports should include as wide a variety as possible of patients with special needs to reflect the scope of practice of the clinician. The following case selection is recommended:

    • Dental management of a patient with complex medical condition
    • Dental management of a Head & Neck Cancer patient
    • Dental management of a patients requiring maxillo-facial prosthodontics
    • Dental management of a transplant patient (pre-transplant to post-transplant)
    • Dental management of a patient with developmental disability (ideally including 
invasive treatment under GA and ongoing preventive management)
    • Dental management of a patient with mental illness or dental anxiety/phobia
    • Dental management of a patient with neuro-degenerative disease
    • Dental management of a patient in a Residential Care Facility
    • Trauma management of a patient requiring Special Needs Dentistry
    • Complex restorative management of a patient requiring Special Needs Dentistry
    • Dental management of a patient requiring palliative care
    • 1 other (candidates choice).
    Portfolio/Logbook Requirements
    Students will complete a comprehensive logbook of patients that will serve as a reference of the relative clinical case mix of patients seen; treatments performed and will aid continual assessment. The registrar logbooks will be audited at the end of each semester. This process will aid in the clinical experience all postgraduate students receive and to ensure that the postgraduate student is exposed to a wide variety of cases. The logbook will also form part of the clinical assessment for each semester and will form part of their overall assessment during their final examination in October / November of the third year.

    Evaluations/Peer Assessments
    Examination of students by persons external to the University of Adelaide for both oral and written examinations in third year, is the benchmark for competent independent clinical practice. Research is examined at the end of the program by an internal and external examiner. The University requires that all higher degree students complete an exit survey prior to program completion.
    Details will be made available on MyUni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    GS8 (Coursework Grade Scheme)
    Grade Description
    CN Continuing
    FNS Fail No Submission
    NFE No Formal Examination
    F Fail
    NGP Non Graded Pass
    P Pass
    C Credit
    D Distinction
    HD High Distinction
    RP Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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