Aim The aim of this paper is to investigate methods employed for teaching removable partial dentures in dental schools in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Materials and methods A questionnaire was distributed by email in May 2005 to each of the 15 dental schools with undergraduate dental degree programmes in Ireland and the UK. The questionnaire sought information relating to the preclinical and clinical teaching of removable partial dentures (both acrylic and cobalt-chromium based dentures).
Results Eleven completed questionnaires were returned. The average duration of a preclinical course in removable partial dentures was 67 hours (range=24-200 hours). This course was directed by a senior clinical academic alone in eight schools, by a senior clinical academic in collaboration with a dental technician in two schools, and solely by a dental instructor technician in one school. The median number of cobalt-chromium and acrylic removable partial dentures provided by undergraduate dental students was 3 (range=2-5) and 2 (range = 0-3), respectively. Four schools reported that their patient pool is not entirely satisfactory for clinical teaching of undergraduate dental students.
Conclusion Variations were noted between dental schools in both the amount and content of teaching programmes. Experience gained by undergraduate students in dental schools is limited, and appears to be hampered by limited access to patients suitable for undergraduate teaching.