Contemporary teaching of bridges (fixed partial dentures) in Ireland and United Kingdom dental schools

Satnam Virdee, C. D. Lynch, Leila Sadaghiani, Liam Addy, A. S. M. Gilmour, I. R. Blum, N. H. F. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate and describe the current teaching of bridges (fixed partial dentures) within dental schools in Ireland and the United Kingdom. The authors previously surveyed this teaching in 2009. Method: Following receipt of positive ethical approval, an online survey was distributed to the 18 dental schools in Ireland and the United Kingdom with primary dental degree programmes in 2017. This questionnaire sought information about the current nature and extent of dental school teaching of bridges, including clinical techniques taught. Information was also sought on current and future challenges to teaching in this area. Results: Responses were received from all 18 schools invited to participate (response rate = 100%). There was diversity in the range of exercises completed in preclinical courses for bridgework: the greatest commonality was seen in relation to preparation exercises for fixed-fixed posterior conventional bridges (n = 14 schools) and cantilever anterior resin-retained bridges (n = 13 schools). Fourteen schools required students to complete a preclinical assessment before they were permitted to provide bridgework in a clinical setting. Anterior cantilevered resin retained bridges were the most common clinical treatment provided (average = 1.67 bridges per student per respondent school; range = 0–3), representing a two-fold increase since the 2009 survey, which indicated that the equivalent mean was 0.83 per student. Two schools permitted their students to provide all-ceramic anterior bridges clinically. Five schools reported that their teaching of bridges had reduced over the past 5 years. Within the respondent schools, the most common challenges cited to teaching bridges was a lack of suitable patients (13 schools) and lack of time within the primary dental degree programme (7 schools). Conclusions: This study found increased student experience in the clinical provision of bridgework, in particular the provision of anterior cantilever resin-retained bridges, compared to the time of the last survey in 2009. Aspects of the teaching of removable partial dentures and implant dentistry should be surveyed to identify how these areas of teaching are adapting to changing patterns of oral healthcare and the further refinement of developing technologies in these areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-745
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Contemporary teaching of bridges (fixed partial dentures) in Ireland and United Kingdom dental schools'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this