Current Issue Subscriptions
Back Issues Advertising
More Information Classified Ads
For Authors Continuing Education
Vol. 70, No. 4
ISSN: 1488-2159
April 2004


Esthetic Dentistry in North American Dental Schools


• Valeria V. Gordan, DDS, MS •
• Amer Abu-Hanna, DDS, MS •
• Ivar A. Mjör, BDS, MSD, MS, Dr. odont. •

A b s t r a c t

Objectives: Esthetic dentistry is among the most dynamic areas of contemporary clinical dentistry. Teaching programs in dental schools have a strong effect on the practice of dentistry, not only for recent graduates, but also for established clinicians, especially with respect to new techniques and concepts. The purpose of the study reported here was to assess the frequency and extent of the teaching of esthetic dentistry in North American dental schools and to report how it differs among the various schools.

Materials and Methods: A 19-question survey was mailed to 64 North American dental schools. The questions inquired about the priority given to the teaching of esthetic dentistry in the school; how the subject was taught (through regular curricular courses; through a multidisciplinary approach or through elective classes); the duration of the esthetic dentistry course; the nature of the course content (theoretical or practical); the esthetic procedures taught to undergraduate students; the level of interaction among different disciplines in the teaching of esthetic dentistry; and the techniques and commercial materials used. The responses were summarized as percentages based on the number of schools that responded to each question.

Results: Fifty-two (81%) of the 64 dental schools completed and returned the questionnaire. Twenty-five of these schools (48%; designated group A) reported having a course exclusively for the teaching of esthetic dentistry. Twenty-seven schools (52%; designated group B) reported that esthetic dentistry was addressed in multiple courses, i.e., no specific course was available. Four schools in group B (15%) were in the process of developing a separate course for esthetic dentistry. In group A schools, esthetic dentistry was taught mainly in the operative dentistry department or division. The most frequent course duration was 4 to 6 months, but there were marked variations. Thirteen (52%) of these 25 schools had didactic and practical teaching at both the preclinical and the clinical levels.

The schools in group B reported that only clinical instruction in esthetic dentistry was provided. Several concerns were addressed in the courses offered in group A schools: extrinsic and intrinsic discoloration, bleaching, diastemas, malformation and malpositioning (the latter including rotation, intrusion and labio-linguoversion), and replacement of amalgam and gold restorations. Only 7 (28%) of the group A schools reported having the support of an inhouse laboratory. The esthetic procedures taught were similar for schools in group A and group B. The use of direct posterior composite restorations, all-ceramic crowns and nonvital bleaching was more common among group B schools. Ceramic inlays, onlays and indirect posterior composite restorations were not taught by 4 (16%) of the schools in group A and 7 (26%) of the schools in group B.

Conclusions: The teaching of esthetic dentistry in North American dental schools is highly variable and in many schools is shared among different disciplines. Dental schools should work together to establish the parameters for teaching this subject and should formulate the necessary standards for education and research in this new field.


MeSH Key Words: curriculum; education, dental; esthetics, dental; schools, dental
Reply to this article | View replies [0]

Full text provided in PDF format


Mission Statement & Editor's Message | Multimedia Centre | Readership Survey
Contact the Editor | Français