Diploma Programme in Dental Medicine (Dr. med. dent.)
The Diploma Programme in Dental Medicine (Dr. med. dent.) at the DPU is certified as being in conformity with EU regulations by academic experts and university professors from Austria, Germany and Switzerland and by the decision of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Wirtschaft). The faculty and students of private universities are granted the same rights as the faculty and students of state universities in accordance with Sections 3(6) and 4(4) of the Austrian Private Universities Act (Privatuniversitätengesetz – PUG).
The reaccreditation procedure for the Danube Private University (DPU), involving an extensive academic review of the university’s organization, teaching and research activities, equipment and faculty by staff of the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria – AQ Austria (AQ Agentur für Qualitätssicherung und Akkreditierung Austria) was successfully completed by the state authority at the beginning of August 2014.
The expert report of AQ Austria commends the Diploma Programme in Dental Medicine (Dr. med. dent.) for “the orientation of the degree to the principles of comprehensive, problem-oriented and evidence-based dentistry”. The report states among other things:
“In conclusion it must be stated that the academic structure, didactical design of the curriculum, continuing education modules, examination regulations, workload and course duration of the programmes fulfil, if not surpass, international standards. The required learning objectives and qualifications are attainable and the envisaged academic title is internationally comparable.”
Doctor of Dental Medicine (Dr. med. dent.) in six Years
The Diploma Programme in Dental Medicine consists of a 12-semester course of study from which the students graduate with a Dr. med. dent. degree and the licensure to exercise the profession of dental practitioner in accordance with the corresponding accreditation.
The organization of the programme, with 20 semester weeks, instead of the 15 at state universities, and shorter semester breaks, intensive teaching blocks with subsequent tutorials and the course’s highly practical orientation, allow the performance-oriented students of dental medicine to graduate after the six-year period prescribed by Austrian law with a Dr. med. dent. degree. During their sixth year of study, they must also complete a compulsory elective, which also serves as an indicator of a possible later postgraduate Master of Science (MSc) in a specialized field at the DPU, in the form of a career-integrated programme while practicing as a doctor of dental medicine.
The Faculty of Medicine/Dentistry places a special emphasis on the practical orientation of the course of study right from the outset. Students are already in contact with patients during the second semester, in their “Introduction to Clinical Dentistry” course. The “Occupational Field Familiarization” internship (Berufsfeldkennung) takes place in the form of work shadowing at specially selected practices after an introductory course at the DPU. Students at the DPU are in contact with patients and address clinical issues in four of their six pre-clinical semesters.
As preparation for the clinical treatment of their patients, the students undergo intensive training on the phantom, with a focus on modern CAD/CAM methods with digital impressions, until they are ready to be “released” to the clinic with great treatment confidence to complete the programme’s compulsory components (“Pflichtenheft”) within the framework of the 72-week practicum at the DPU Dental Clinic in Krems.
Intensive support by a fixed team of clinically experienced senior and resident dentists, assigned for each semester, and always under the academic guidance of the respective professors, allows the students to offer patients diagnosis and case oriented treatments within the framework of a center-overlapping concept. The ongoing supervision of the students on a semester-by-semester basis by a fixed team of dental staff also makes it easier to quickly eliminate any performance deficits, provide help for optimization, identify special talents and assign them to working groups and academic projects, also within the framework of later theses and possible publications. The Chief Physician of the DPU Dental Clinic in Krems and Vice-President of the Austrian Regional Dental Chamber of Lower Austria (Landeszahnärztekammer Niederösterreich — ÖZÄK), MedR Dr. med. univ. Sven Orechovsky, is responsible for the organizational treatment processes and the clinical and structural quality assurance.
The candidati med. dent. treat their patients from the initial contact until the end of the treatment under the supervision of professors, senior and assistant dentists and doctors.
In addition, each of the candidati med. dent. assists one of the professors at regular intervals and is allowed to place implants after the completion of an intensive course at the DPU. In summer 2017, we recorded the 1000th implant placed by a student at the DPU Dental Clinic in Krems since its opening in the winter semester of WS 2011/12; on average, each student has placed six implants. The students additionally complete courses in radiation protection and sterile preparation, allowing them to also gain an insight to the other clinical activities of a dentist.
Students in German language programme are already taught “English Terminology” at the start of their studies – in the first semester – and learn how to work with international scientific literature in a globalized world in the “Academic Methodology” course.
In addition to providing extensive basic medical training, there is also a focus on the overall responsibility of dentists throughout the programme. This occurs through a high degree of close and networked cooperation between the various disciplines. Subjects such as biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and general medicine focus on the specific challenges of dental medicine. The subject of ethics in medicine/dentistry is also a major, overlapping topic in the curriculum.
The integration of medical subjects in the courses of study at the DPU occurs to a higher degree than is usually the case in the dental medicine programmes around the world today, and includes subjects such as orthopaedics and paediatrics. Theoretical knowledge in these fields is complemented by internships at medical institutions.
During the clinical phase, practical training occurs according to the principle of problem-oriented learning. Within the framework of the 72-week practicum at the DPU Dental Clinic in Krems required to complete the programme's compulsory clinical components ("Pflichtenheft"), students at the DPU, in contrast to the conventional subject-structured treatment courses, assume the responsibility for a patient, looking after them and providing them with comprehensive, center-overlapping care in all fields of dentistry on the basis of a previously compiled treatment plan.
The training therefore reflects the requirements faced by dentists on a day-to-day basis in a dental excellence practice. In addition, the students thus assume a far higher degree of responsibility for the treatment of “their” patients than is normally the case in the traditional system, where pre-selected treatment tasks are assigned to students by the senior dentists. The plans are prepared by the students and, where necessary, elaborated with the senior/assistant dentists and doctors. A high emphasis is placed on patient commitment and a long-term patient-dentist relationship. The students also learn the soft skills of future dentists with seminars on “patient communication”, “empathy”, “anxiety patients”, “values and psychological health” and “treating elderly patients”.