Diploma Programme in Dental Medicine for Award of the Dr. med. dent. Degree

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Scientific experts (consisting of university professors from Austria, Germany and Switzerland) have unanimously and fully confirmed compliance of the Diploma Programme in Dental Medicine for award of the Dr. med. dent. degree at DPU – as documented in the minutes of the Austrian Accreditation Council (Österreichischer Akkreditierungsrat, ÖAR) in summer 2009, in the decision of the Austrian Ministry of Science – with the EU directive. Pursuant to § 3 VI and § 4 IV of the PUG, teachers and students at private universities enjoy equivalence with teachers and students at state universities.

In early August 2014, following an extensive process of scientific assessment of the organisation, teaching and research activities, the institution and the staff, the Austrian Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation (AQ Austria), as the state authority, extended DPU’s accreditation until August 2020. After a further routine review in 2020, as it is generally demanded of private universities, a new extension for another twelve years, i.e. until 2032, will take place.

For the Diploma Programme in Dental Medicine for award of the Dr. med. dent. degree, the appraisal of the AQ Austria attests “gearing of the programme to principles of comprehensive problem-oriented and evidence-based dental medicine”. Among other things, the appraisal reads: “In summary, it can be stated that the structure of the teaching, the didactic design of the curriculum, the modules of continuing education, but also the examination regulations, the workload and the duration of the study programmes meet or even exceed international standards.” The required learning objectives and qualifications can be achieved, and the intended academic degree is internationally comparable.”

Six years to become a doctor of dental medicine (Dr. med. dent.)

It is a twelve-term diploma programme, which the graduates complete with the Dr. med. dent. and the licence to practise dental medicine according to the accreditation.

Thanks to the programme organisation – 20 weeks per term instead of the 15 customary at state universities, and shortened vacations –, intensive compact teaching with follow-up tutorials and the strong real-world orientation of the study programme, the achievement-oriented students of dental medicine will complete their studies with the degree of Dr. med. dent. after the six years legally prescribed in Austria. In the sixth year of the programme, a compulsory optional subject is taken, which is completed in preparation for a later postgraduate university course for Master of Science (MSc) in a subject of one’s choice at DPU, on part-time basis concomitantly with the activity as a Doctor of Dental Medicine in practice.

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Real-world orientation

From the beginning of the programme, the Department of Medicine / Dental Medicine attaches great importance to special real-world orientation. As early as the second term, the students are introduced to the treatment of patients. After an introduction also to clinical dental medicine, materials science and practice hygiene, the course “Exploration of the Profession” takes place in the form of work shadowing in dental practices. In four out of the six pre-clinical terms, DPU students come into contact with patients and clinical issues.

In order to provide an introduction to the clinical care of their patients, the students are intensively trained on the phantom – modern CAD/CAM procedures with digital impressions being one of the focal points – until they can be “released” to the clinic with great treatment security in order to fulfil the clinical requirements as candidati/-ae med. dent. within the framework of the 72-week course in the Dental Outpatient Clinic Krems of DPU.

The termwise, continuously assigned supervision by a permanent team of clinically experienced senior and assistant physicians, under the scientific direction of the respective professors, allows the students to treat the patients in a diagnosis- and case-oriented manner within the framework of a cross-centre concept. The permanent supervision of the work steps of the students by medical staff constantly assigned per term also favours rapid detection of any performance deficiencies, provision of optimisation help, as well as identification of special talents, integration of the latter into working groups and grooming of these for scientific projects, also within the framework of a later diploma thesis, with publication where feasible. The director and quality assurance officer of DPU’s Krems Dental Outpatient Clinic, MR Dr. med. univ. Sven Orechovsky, Vice President of the Lower Austrian Chamber of Dentists, is responsible for the organisation of the treatment procedures and clinical-structural quality assurance. Furthermore, each candidatus/-a med. dent. assists one of the professors on a regular basis and is permitted, after completion of intensive courses at DPU, to perform implantations. Each student places an average of six implants at DPU during his/her Integrated Treatment Course. In addition, students receive training in radiation protection and sterile supplies handling in order to gain insight into the further clinical activities of a dentist as well.

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.

Internationality

Already at the beginning of the programme – in the first term – a course in “English Technical Terminology” takes place. In “Scientific Work”, students are introduced to the processing of international scientific literature in a globalised world.

Overall responsibility

In addition to comprehensive basic medical training, the study programme is consistently geared to the overall responsibility of dentists. This takes place in a particularly networked cooperation of the individual disciplines. Thus, the teaching in scientific fields such as biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, but also general human medicine focuses on the special challenges in dental medicine. Ethics in medicine/dental medicine is strongly integrated into the curriculum as an overarching topic. To a greater extent than is internationally customary in today’s dental medicine programmes, medical subjects are part of the course of study at DPU. The theoretical knowledge in these fields is supplemented by work shadowing in medical facilities.

In the clinical section, practical teaching is carried out according to the principle of problem-oriented learning. In contrast to the usual discipline-specific treatment courses, in the framework of the 72-week course the students take care of a patient at the DPU’s Dental Outpatient Clinic in Krems in order to fulfil the clinical requirements, providing him or her with comprehensive care in all areas of dental medicine according to a treatment plan drawn up beforehand and a cross-centre manner.

In weekly case conferences and clinical knowledge circles, concomitantly with the Integrated Treatment Course the theory behind the practice is evaluated by the professor responsible for teaching, and oral examination situations are simulated, which serve as practice with regard to the 3rd diploma examination, with the aim of graduation as Dr. med. dent.

The training thus meets the requirements that excellence in the practice of dental medicine places on a dentist on a daily basis. In addition, the student thereby assumes far greater responsibility for the treatment of “his/her” patient than is the case in the traditional system of assignment of treatment tasks selected by senior physicians. Plans are drawn up by the students and, if necessary, fine-tuned by a multidisciplinary team of senior and assistant physicians. High value is placed on the patient relationship. In this context, special skills of the students are trained through seminars such as “Patient Communication”, “Empathy”, “Anxiety Patients”, “Values and Mental Health” and “Dealing with Senior Patients”.

The candidati/-ae med. dent. treat their patients under the supervision of professors and senior and assistant physicians from the first contact to completion of the treatment.

Students in the clinical phase often receive letters from grateful patients expressing their appreciation.