Big strides in dental education

Print edition : December 20, 2002

The College of Dental Sciences.-RAVI SHARMA

THE two dental colleges run by the Bapuji Educational Association, the Bapuji Dental College and Hospital, and the College of Dental Sciences, both at Davangere, have a combined annual intake of 200 students at the undergraduate level. None of the seats has remained unfilled unlike in several dental colleges in Karnataka, and this fact points to the high standards that the two colleges have maintained

Said I.P. Viswaradhya, Chairman of the two dental colleges: "Both the colleges are equipped with sufficient dental surgery chairs and each college has its own dedicated hospital. Both hospitals conduct maxillo-facial surgery, which is helpful in oral cancer treatment. Also, with a busy highway passing through Davengere, the presence of these hospitals is crucial for the treatment of hundreds of motor accident victims. Both the colleges are recognised by the Dental Council of India."

The equipment available at the colleges includes high-end, multi-purpose and stereo microscopes, which are connected to an LCD (liquid crystal display) projector to enable a large number of people to view the slide, high-end X-ray machines such as the orthpantomograph (which enables the X-raying of the whole jaw), a ceramic furnace, an induction-casting machine and a motor cast (for ceramic and metal casts), soft tissue analysers and microtones for both soft (up to five microns) and hard (upto 75 microns) tissue biopsies. According to Viswaradhya, the combined assets of the two colleges exceed Rs.50 crores.

One of specialities of the Bapuji Dental College and Hospital is orthognathic surgery, which helps correct deformities of the face. Explained Dr. K. Sadashiva Shetty: "Hardly four or five institutions are doing this kind of surgery in the country. It involves pre-surgical splinting, and then surgery. This is performed when the jaw is protruding. We diagnose whether the problem is purely one of the teeth or involves both the teeth and the jaw. If the problem involves both, we first take up the orthodontic part (teeth are made ideal), then perform oral surgery on the jaws."

The Bapuji Dental College and Hospital, which was started in 1979, has an intake of 100 at the under-graduate level and 48 at the post-graduate level. Said Shetty: "The college has 250 dental chairs and occupies 175,000 square feet of space. In all, we have around 800 students. Our library has 5,800 books and nearly 1,700 journals, and a video and audio room where students and the staff can avail themselves of free Internet facilities and present case studies." The college has a 25-bed hospital. The faculty comprises mostly of former students of the institute.

According to faculty members, on an average around 200 out-patients visit the college every day. The Pedodontics Department conducts regular clinics for schoolchildren and runs rural camps, using the college's mobile clinic.

The Department of Oral Surgery has remained in the limelight for its impressive performance in the area of maxillo-facial surgery. Said Dr. David Tauro, a senior surgeon in the department: "We have been doing a lot of work with accident and head- and- neck tumour/cancer patients. In a recent accident case, we augmented the (deformed) cheek bone from the hip. The operation was performed not by making an incision but through the oral cavity (mouth)."

In 1991, the dental college was bifurcated and the College of Dental Sciences was formed. In 1996, it moved to a new 100,000 sq.ft building. The college has an intake of 100 students and 47 students at the under-graduate levels and post-graduate levels respectively. It is equipped with 320 dental surgery chairs and has a 10-bed hospital. Of the college's 594 students, 65 per cent and 50 per cent at the under-graduate and postgraduate levels respectively are girls. The college's state-of-the-art equipment matches that available at the Bapuji Dental College and Hospital.

The college has the distinction of being the first in South-East Asia to be chosen as an examination centre by the Centre for Evidence Based Dentistry and Informatics, Oxford. The college has undertaken 36 dental educational programmes over the past four years.

Dr. V.V. Subba Reddy, Principal, College of Dental Sciences, said: "In October 2002, our college was chosen by the Diplomat Nationale Board for the conduct of practical examinations in four specialities oral surgery, orthodontics, conservative and endodontics and prosthetics." The college's out-patient department receives at least 350 patients every day.

Each of the college's departments has a seminar hall, which is equipped with a slide and overhead projector for presentations. Said Sadashiva Reddy: "We have a 225-seat auditorium and, besides all the state-of-the-art equipment that is required by a top-notch dental college, we have an intra-oral digital camera, which enables the making of slides. It can also be connected to a video cassette recorder. We also undertake oral health counselling in rural areas and have adopted five primary health centres, four in Davangere district and one in Haveri. Camps are conducted at these centres three days for screening the patients and one day for treatment. During the past three months, we have been receiving nearly 150 patients every day.

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