Discipline of Dentistry

About Us

Dentistry offers two programmes within the scope of Dentistry, ie. Bachelor of Dental Therapy (3 years) and University Diploma in Oral Health (2 years). Due to expanded functions assigned to oral hygienists by the Professional Board of Dental Therapy and Oral Hygiene, it is envisioned that within the next year, the Diploma will be converted to a three year degree.

Dental Therapists can work independently within the public and private sectors, and can perform all functions within the scope of primary and secondary levels of prevention in Dentistry. They do extractions, fillings, scaling and polishing, dental radiography, and health education and promotion.

Oral Hygiene is a dynamic, patient-orientated profession where the hygienist is committed to meeting the health education and prevention needs of the community. They work within the private and public sectors, with emphasis on health education and promotion, and can now register as an independent practitioner. The focus is on evidence-based oral health promotion and prevention at a primary health care level within a multidisciplinary and inter-professional approach to improve health and oral health. They do scaling and polishing and dental radiography for all patients, with emphasis on patients with special needs. They also provide supervised, specialized preventive care to patients in orthodontics, periodontics, oral surgery, and other dental specialities.

We currently offer the following programmes and qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Dental Therapy
  • University Diploma of Oral Health
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Courses for Dentists, Dental Therapists, Oral Hygienists and Dental Assistants as per the requirements of the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
  • Continuing Education courses for other health personnel e.g. nurses, caregivers in schools and institutions.

Both the Bachelor of Dental Therapy and the University Diploma of Oral Health have been fully accredited by the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

Vision

The Discipline envisage to becoming the forerunner of dental training in the country, by training all cadres of the oral health team, to meet the oral health needs of South Africa and the African continent through critical engagement in socially relevant education, training, research, service and outreach.

Mission

The Discipline seeks to achieve excellence in the provision of education and training programmes aimed at recruiting and developing oral health personnel who are competent to respond appropriately to the oral health needs of the people they serve, with emphasis on the primary health care approach.

Core Values

The School is committed to excellence in the education and training of oral health personnel assuring the graduation of health professionals equipped with the knowledge, skills and competence to serve the oral healthcare needs of the country in a manner empathic to the diverse cultures in South Africa and in every sphere of Oral Health care, nationally and internationally.

The School is further committed to equity and social redress, ensuring that its student population is demographically representative.

Community service is strongly commended assuring accessibility and availability of oral health services to all health seeking communities. 
The School strongly supports dental research prioritized both nationally and internationally, but particularly relevant to the South African and African context.

Goals 
The mission, vision and core values of the Discipline are reflected in its goals, which are to:

  • Produce graduates who are capable of providing oral health care within the concept of the primary health care approach for the population of South Africa,
  • Produce dental graduates who, together with other members of the healthcare team, will take an active role in increasing the awareness of the population of oral disease risk, and the potential of appropriate self-care,
  • Produce appropriately trained dental graduates, who will provide a comprehensive oral health service, which includes preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative care, and which is relevant and appropriate to community served,
  • Inculcate an ethical approach to all patients, as well as an awareness of the patient and his/her illness within a holistic setting, including family and social relationships,
  • Produce dental graduates who will collaborate with other health professionals and programmes, to ensure integration of oral health policies and programmes into all other initiatives that impact on community health,
  • Promote undergraduate and postgraduate research in the oral and dental sciences and relevant social sciences, which will, inter alia, ensure the provision of a more affordable, accessible and appropriate oral health service to all South Africans,
  • Encourage staff and students to contribute to oral health planning and to the formulation of rational oral and dental policies,
  • Offer continuing and supplementary dental education programmes for all cadres of oral health and other health personnel,
  • Undertake an on-going process of curriculum review to ensure the relevance of the departmental academic programme to dentistry students, to the dentistry profession, to the community served, and to the country’s health and research needs, foster the academic development of departmental staff and students.