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Unit information: Health Sciences: Oral Biology Year 3 in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Health Sciences: Oral Biology Year 3
Unit code ORDS30001
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Dymock
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Dental School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


The Teaching Unit comprises three themes delivered in year 3 of the BDS programme.

They are as follows:

Themes 9, 10, 11 & library project

9. Tooth development

10. Orofacial functions

11. Age changes in oral and dental tissues

The two Units of Oral Biology deliver specialised teaching of anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology and physiology relating to the oral environment. Teaching is divided into eleven themes. These are delivered by both clinically and scientifically qualified staff with emphasis on relating scientific knowledge to the clinical condition at times appropriate for clinical activities within years 2 and 3 of the programme. An understanding of the situation both in health and the more common oral diseases is gained.

Intended learning outcomes

Students should obtain a knowledge and understanding of the following:

  • The tissues and organs of the body at the molecular, cellular, physiological and anatomical levels such that the student can appreciate the integration of function in the body, be aware of how pathological processes and injury may compromise such function and have sufficient knowledge of the broader aspects of the biology of the body where they impact upon and influence the delivery of dental and oral healthcare.
  • The biology of the oral and dental tissues, at the molecular, cellular, physiological and anatomical levels such that the student has a good appreciation of normal physiological function in the oral cavity, can recognize when this is compromised and is able to use their knowledge and understanding both to diagnose abnormal function and to underpin their subsequent treatment planning.
  • The scientific basis of dentistry, the mechanisms of knowledge acquisition, scientific method and evaluation of evidence such that the student is capable of evaluating and appraising information both during their life-long training and within clinical practice.

The student should acquire the skills and attributes necessary for:

  • Applying and extending the knowledge and principles taught in Year 1 medical bioscience subjects and year 2 Oral Biology with emphasis on its relevance to clinical dentistry.
  • Extended integration of basic and applied science as related to oral health, disease and therapeutics.
  • Integrated learning opportunities on the structure, functions and distributions of the oral tissues in the normal state.
  • Investigative and evaluative reading and summary writing of scientific and clinical literature.

This unit contributes to delivery and assessment of the following General Dental Council learning outcomes as specified in .

O4 Describe the principles of good research, how to access research and interpret it for use as part of an evidence based approach to practice
O5 Apply an evidence-based approach to learning, practice, clinical judgment and decision making and utilise critical thinking and problem solving skills
1.1.1 Explain, evaluate and apply the principles of an evidencebased approach to learning, clinical and professional practice and decision making
1.1.2 Critically appraise approaches to dental research and integrate with patient care
1.1.3 Identify oral diseases and explain their relevance to prevention, diagnosis and treatment
1.1.5 Explain the aetiology and pathogenesis of oral disease
1.1.6 Identify relevant and appropriate dental, oral, craniofacial and general anatomy and explain their application to patient management
1.1.7 Describe relevant physiology and discuss its application to patient management
1.12.1 Describe the aetiology and pathogenesis of diseases of the oral and maxillofacial complex
1.13.1 Identify normal and abnormal facial growth, physical, mental and dental development and explain their significance
1.13.3 Identify and explain developmental or acquired occlusal abnormalities
1.14.1 Assess and manage caries, occlusion, and tooth wear
1.14.2 Recognise and manage temporomandibular joint disorders
5.1 Communicate effectively and sensitively by spoken, written and electronic methods and maintain and develop these skills
6.2 Be honest and act with integrity
9.1 Recognise and demonstrate own professional responsibility in the development of self and the rest of the team
9.4 Develop and maintain professional knowledge and competence and demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning
10.2 Effectively manage their own time and resources

Teaching details

Teaching will use a blended learning approach delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities. Students will be expected to engage with all learning.

A range of teaching are used in the unit including:

  • Lectures
  • Practicals/Lab Classes
  • Tutorials

Assessment Details

Summative Assessments:

Paper 1

  • e-Assessment - 1.5hrs in total (This exam contributes to 60% of the Unit mark).

Paper 2

  • 1800 word library project report (This exam contributes to 40% of the Unit mark).

Reading and References


  • Berkovitz BKB, Holland GR, Moxham BJ. Oral anatomy, histology and embryology, 4th Ed. Elsevier Mosby; 2009. ISBN 9780723434115.
  • Nanci A. Ten Cate’s oral histology: development, structure and function. 8th ed. Elsevier Mosby; 2012. ISBN 9780323078467.


  • Miles TS, Nauntofte B, Svensson P. Clinical oral physiology. Quintessence Publishing Co. Ltd; 2004. ISBN 1850970910.


  • Wassell R, Naru A, Steele J, Nohl F. Applied Occlusion. Quintessentials of Dental Practice; 2008ISBN: 9781850970989