THE DEPARTMENT OF PERIODONTICS
The Department of Periodontics was established at West Virginia University when the School of Dentistry was founded in 1957. The Department of Periodontics currently includes the Division of Dental Hygiene which was founded at the School of Dentistry in 1961. Periodontics provides periodontal education to predoctoral dental students, the periodontal preceptor and postdoctoral students in the WVU School of Dentistry.
The undergraduate periodontal education is provided through didactic courses, preclinical laboratories, clinical experiences including assisting with periodontal surgeries. The goal of the periodontal education is to educate dental students to be competent in recognizing and diagnosing periodontal diseases and providing initial periodontal therapy to their patients as well as proper reevaluation and decision on referral for further periodontal therapy or initiating periodontal maintenance phase. In the Department of Periodontics, our undergraduate students demonstrated their knowledge and are measured through didactic examinations, case based clinical cases, work load in the clinic by weight value units (WVU's), daily clinical assessment and feedback of their clinical procedures and finally through clinical performance assessments on periodontal examination, treatment plan, adult prophylaxis including oral hygiene instructions and smoking cessation and periodontal reevaluation with decision on need for further periodontal treatment and referral.
The dental students perform periodontal examinations, treatment plans, periodontal debridement, reevaluation of initial periodontal therapy, and periodontal maintenance and decision making on preferred treatment plans. The students gain familiarity with various types of periodontal surgical procedures while assisting during periodontal surgery performed by the faculty and preceptorship student in periodontics. After gaining some experience in witnessing and assisting during periodontal surgery, the dental students may be able to perform some periodontal surgical procedures depending on the type and complexity of the surgery.
We have initiated in 2011, scientific based seminars and slowly reducing the passive lecture system traditionally used in our schools. We are also providing immediate feedback in the clinical procedures as well as in their written test by discussing the areas for improvement and returning their tests for their evaluation and learning activities.
Our Periodontal department believes in teaching by example, passion towards periodontics and scientific basis by providing with initial and basic reading of updated and current periodontal peer-reviewed literature for our students. Our goal is to provide to our undergraduate students not only the basis to comply with the basic standards of our required dental education but also providing with the basic periodontal educational skills for continuing growth in their future professional lives.