University of Bristol’s dental school officially opens, with opportunities for dental radiographers

The move promises a 25 per cent increase in available student places and specialist training for radiographers

Published: 19 February 2024 Students

The University of Bristol's new dental school has opened its doors to students in dentistry and dental radiography.

Bristol Dental School opened in September last year, after being moved to a new site in Bristol City Centre in autumn 2023.

Its improved facilities will support specialised training in dental radiography for students, and support clinical imaging throughout the school.

The 7,300 square metre establishment holds 119 dental chairs across six clinical areas and will allow the university to increase the number of available student places by around 25 per cent. 

The £36 million facilities are located on the university’s Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus and will provide the latest clinical training for dentists, hygienists and therapists, dental nurses and the wider team.

This will allow Bristol’s dental students to contribute “even more significantly” to the local and national dental workforce.

Free dental treatment

Free dental treatment will remain available to the local community from undergraduate students supervised by qualified clinical dentists.

Bristol dental students deliver up to 60,000 episodes of patient care to adults and children across the city and surrounding areas each year.

This is one of the first models for delivery of this training in the UK, where a Higher Education Institute has direct responsibility for running Care Quality Commission-registered clinical facilities in which dental professionals train, a spokesperson for the school explained.

The scheme was designed in consultation with local NHS commissioners and Healthwatch Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

'Radiography is an essential part of dentistry'

The school employs radiographers specialised in dental radiography to teach undergraduates dental radiography techniques and to support clinical imaging throughout the facility. 

Carestream Dental and Duerr Dental were selected to provide the equipment for intraoral, extraoral and cone beam CT imaging. Radiography equipment is provided on five floors of the Dental School, allowing students easy access to machines for imaging their patients. 

Stuart Grange, teaching radiographer, said: “Carestream and Duerr Dental have worked with us throughout the project to develop a comprehensive range of imaging options to support clinical work in the new school. We are very pleased with the ease of operation of our new equipment which is greatly appreciated by our students.

“Radiography is an essential part of dental clinical practice. Our new systems enable students and staff to focus on developing technical excellence and producing high quality images. This in turn enables the best patient care.”

'A tailor-made approach'

Dr Barry Main, head of the dental school and consultant senior lecturer in oral and maxillofacial surgery, said: “The majority of teaching in our new primary-care facility will enable students to work as part of multi-professional teams. Being alongside trainees in dental hygiene, therapy, and nursing mirrors the environment of real-world practice. 

“While we will retain our links with local NHS partners to deliver training in specialist clinics and in postgraduate education, our new primary-care focussed model will allow a tailor-made approach that ensures each student leaves us ready for day one of foundation training. 

“Our new curriculum, developed in the last five years, is underpinned by an ethos of personal development, evidence-based practice, and integrated patient care. And our new school will bring the practical embodiment of that curriculum to the benefit of our students and their patients, as we continue to provide treatment in an inclusive environment for the local community.”
(Image: left to right, Head of School Barry Main, Senior School Manager James Tubman, teaching radiographers Lynn Wilcox and Stuart Grange, with the Carestream 8200 Neo cone beam CT scanner)