Evaluation of a dental model for training veterinary students

J Vet Med Educ. Summer 2012;39(2):128-35. doi: 10.3138/jvme.1011.108R.


Periodontal disease has deleterious effects on an animal's health and potentially serious implications for its welfare. Consequently, veterinarians frequently perform routine periodontal treatment in small-animal practice. One would therefore assume that small-animal dentistry would constitute a core component of a veterinary curriculum. However, most practitioners received little or no formal training in dentistry during their veterinary degrees, and the amount of instruction students currently receive is variable, often with limited opportunities to practice. At the Royal Veterinary College, a prototype dental model was developed to address the lack of practical training; it was made using ceramic tiles, silicone sealant, and grout to emulate teeth, gingiva, and calculus, respectively. A study was conducted with third-year veterinary students to compare the outcomes of learning to perform a professional dental cleaning using a model (group A) or a video (group B). Performance was assessed using an objective structured clinical examination. Students in group A scored significantly better than those in group B (p<.001). All students also completed a questionnaire evaluating attitudes toward the use of a dental model in learning dentistry-related skills. All students identified a model as a potentially valuable learning tool to supplement existing teaching methods and facilitate the acquisition of small-animal dentistry skills. The dental model has the potential to equip students with useful, practical skills in a safe and risk-free environment.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum
  • Dental Models / veterinary*
  • Education, Dental / standards
  • Education, Veterinary / methods*
  • Education, Veterinary / standards
  • London
  • Periodontics / education*
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Veterinary Medicine / standards
  • Video Recording