QUB hosts inaugural RCSEd Dentsply Dental Skills Competition

Mark Kennedy (winner NI heat), Laura Graham (runner up), Debbie Tennyson (runner up)

In December 2015 final year dental students from Queens University Belfast competed in the inaugural Northern Ireland heat of the Royal College of Surgeon’s Edinburgh / Dentsply Dental Skills Competition.  During the heat, the students showcased their clinical skills with Mark Kennedy judged to be the winner.  His prize includes a travel and accommodation package to compete in the Grand Final in Edinburgh on 10 March 2016 representing Queens University Belfast. At the Grand Final, the top 16 finalists, from across the UK, will be tasked to undertake a broad range of clinical procedures before determining who will be crowned the overall winner at the Competition’s Grand Final Dinner.  Further information can be found here: 

 The competition was organised in Belfast by Dr Mark Lappin, Lecturer / Consultant in Restorative Dentistry and Dr Lorna Dysart, Clinical Fellow in Restorative Dentistry.  The judge was Dr Gerry McKenna, Senior Lecturer / Consultant in Restorative Dentistry and Regional Dental Advisor for RCSEd in Northern Ireland.  

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Dentistry at Queen’s is number 1 in the 2015 National Student Survey

The National Student Survey (NSS) gathers students' opinions on the quality of their university courses each year.  In the 2015 survey, Dentistry at Queen's University Belfast scored 100% overall satisfaction amongst the most recent final year undergraduate class.  This meant that Dentistry at Queen's University Belfast was ranked number 1 amongst Dental Schools throughout the United Kingdom.

Professor Donald Burden, Director of the Centre for Dentistry commented "These results reflect the professionalism, dedication and commitment of the entire dental teaching team in Queen's University Belfast.  Among all university undergraduate degree courses, dentistry is recognised as one of the most complex and demanding courses to deliver.  However these NSS results confirm that the dental teaching team has the ability and the resilience to continually improve and enhance our BDS degree programme."

The NSS is administered by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and contributes to public accountability, helps inform prospective students and provides data designed to assist institutions in enhancing the student experience.  Further information can be found here:


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High praise for Dentistry at Queen's in the 2016 Guardian University Guide

Dentistry at Queen’s University Belfast has been ranked as number 2 across the United Kingdom in the most recent Guardian University Guide.  Compared with the other 14 UK dental schools, Dentistry at Queen’s scored particularly highly in teaching satisfaction, student feedback and student to staff ratio.  As illustrated by the data, 100% of Queen’s Dental Graduates were employed 6 months after graduation. 

Further information can be found here:  

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Queen’s University Belfast represented at the EU Platform for Better Oral Health

On October 13, the Second European Oral Health Summit took place in Brussels, gathering oral healthcare stakeholders, experts and leading policy makers from across Europe for a high-level policy round table, and presenting solutions to Europe’s oral health problems.  Dr Gerry McKenna, President of the European College of Gerodontology and Senior Lecturer / Consultant in Restorative Dentistry in QUB was an invited participant.  During the Summit, the collection of best practices in oral health promotion and prevention across Europe was presented, outlining the scale of the oral health problem in Europe, and containing 28 examples of oral health prevention and promotion programmes from across Europe which the Platform sees as possible solutions.  Dr Paula Vassallo, Chair of the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe stressed that “the examples demonstrated in this report highlight that solutions to Europe’s oral health problems do exist. The European Commission and Member States should establish a formal mechanism such as a Joint Action on Oral Health to ensure the proper evaluation and roll-out of these programmes across the European Union, for the benefit of the oral health of all citizens.”

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Queen’s University Belfast hosts major international dental conference

Dentists from around the world gathered at Queen’s for a landmark dental conference in October 2015.  Queens University Belfast hosted the combined annual meeting of the European College of Gerodontology, the Association of Consultants and Specialists in Restorative Dentistry, and the Specialist Registrars in Restorative Dentistry Group and marked the first time that any of these organisations have gathered in Ireland, north or south.

Experts from North and South America, Europe and Asia will discussed issues including the economic challenges of our ageing population and clinical topics including dental implants, periodontal disease and head and neck oncology. The meeting was opened by Professor Patrick Johnston, Vice-Chancellor and President of Queen’s University Belfast.  Speakers included Professor Jimmy Steele who, along with his clinical and academic work, has held a number of external roles, including leading the ‘Review of NHS Dental Services in England’ for the Government in 2009, and subsequently worked with the Department of Health to pilot and consider implementation of the recommendations.  Also addressing the conference was Professor Finbarr Allen, recently appointed as the new Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry and Director of the National University Centre for Oral Health in Singapore.  

Dr Gerry McKenna, Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Queen’s University Belfast, and currently President of the European College of Gerodontology, said: “To bring this amount of world-level expertise and talent to Belfast is incredible. Queen’s is very proud to be hosting this event, which is of international significance. In many parts of the world we have an ageing population, with all sorts of knock-on issues for society, geriatric dentistry being one of them, so this conference could not be more timely.  It also comes at a great time for Dentistry at Queen’s. After a substantial refurbishment, facilities at the School are now among the most modern in Europe. The new clinical techniques lab, in particular, provides an exceptional teaching environment for undergraduates where they can learn and develop their clinical skills under close supervision before embarking on treatment for their patients.”


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Information on how to get dental treatment by undergraduate students

Queen’s University Dental School is offering dental treatment for adults who require straightforward treatment as part of the School’s student dentist training programme.

Could I have treatment at the Dental School?

If you would like free dental treatment by students-in-training, you:

  • must be available during the day - appointments begin at 9am and 1.45pm in term times and are likely to take at least 1 hour
  • must be able to come to all your appointments.  If you are unable to come to an appointment, an alternative date may not be offered as students have a limited time to complete their treatments.

If you meet these criteria, you will be given an initial appointment for an examination. This will assess whether you can be treated by students. It is not a consultation for treatment options.

If you are suitable you will have your treatment planned and will be allocated to a student. At the end of treatment, you will be discharged from the student clinic.

If your dental needs are not suitable for student treatment, you will be advised that you need to find a local dentist.

Types of treatments students can provide

You may be eligible if you require straightforward treatment such as:

  •        routine fillings
  •        simple gum treatment
  •        root canal fillings
  •        crowns

This service is not suitable if you need:

  •        dentures
  •        dental implants
  •        tooth whitening
  •        orthodontics

Is treatment by a student different?

Students work more slowly than a dentist so your appointment will take longer and you may need several appointments. However, all students' work is checked at relevant stages, so you can be sure that you are receiving a good standard of care.

How can I get an appointment?

If you meet our criteria above, you can request an assessment appointment and further information by contacting the appointments team,

By telephone on:  02890632733
By e-mail at:


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Faculty of Dentistry, RCSI, award inaugural Professor John McGimpsey Prize

This photograph shows Caoimhe (centre) receiving her Award from Professor Donald Burden, Director Centre for Dental Education, Queens University Belfast (right) and Professor Gerard Kearns, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry RCSI (left). The photograph in the background shows the late Professor McGimpsey.

The Faculty of Dentistry at RCSI recognises the talent and potential of our dental students. This year, the Faculty awarded the Professor John McGimpsey Prize for the first time to Ms Caoimhe McVeigh, a final year dental student at Queen’s University Belfast. Professor John McGimpsey, Consultant in Oral Sugery, was Director of Teaching & Learning/ Department Head at the Queen’s University and Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast. He was also Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, RCSI, from 1998 – 2001.

The Faculty of Dentistry at RCSI is committed to the pursuit of excellence in dentistry both in Ireland and overseas. Recognising the potential of our dental students, the Faculty of Dentistry fosters a drive for excellence by awarding prizes, on an annual basis, to outstanding students within our dental schools. Further details of the Faculty, including further qualifications that may be gained by dentists, are available on


Left to right: Professor Kearns (Dean Faculty of Dentistry RCSI), Ms Caoimhe McVeigh (Award recipient), Mrs Pippa McGimpsey, Dr Peter Cowan (CEO and Former Dean, Faculty of Dentistry RCSI).


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Advice for staff and students: suspected cases of Meningococcal Meningitis

The University and the Public Health Agency (PHA) were informed at the weekend of a case of meningococcal meningitis in a Queen’s University student. Since then a second suspected case of the disease has been reported. The Senior Medical Officer of the University has been working closely with the PHA since the weekend to ensure the effective implementation of necessary actions.

All appropriate Public Health and University measures have been taken and preventative antibiotics have been organised for contacts. Both students are in first year Dentistry and steps have been taken to offer antibiotics to all students in first year Dentistry and first year Medicine who share lectures, as a precautionary measure.

Although not particularly common in this age group, all young people aged 16-24 years old, particularly those attending University need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis.

Staff and students who may experience symptoms including severe headache, dislike of bright lights, vomiting, neck stiffness, a non-blanching rash and drowsiness should contact their GP or local A&E department immediately. Staff, students and young people should also watch out for these signs and symptoms in their friends.

The Public Health Agency and the University continue to work together to monitor the situation and will take further action if necessary.

Students should note that all classes are continuing as normal.

Further meningitis information can be found on the Health Protection website at or

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