Paediatric Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong
The Discipline of Paediatric Dentistry was established at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Hong Kong in 1980. Professor Alan Brooke from London was the Founding Chair Professor of Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics and designed the first syllabus and clinical facilities in the Prince Philip Dental Hospital. He was succeeded by Professor Stephen Wei Hon Yin who came from the USA where he was Professor and Chair of Pedodontics at the University of California San Francisco in 1984. Prior to his appointment at UCSF, he taught at the University of Iowa from 1967-1983 and was Professor and Head of the Department of Pedodontics from 1967-1983. The current Professor of Paediatric Dentistry is Professor Nigel King who was one of the founding members of this discipline in Hong Kong.
The discipline of Paediatric Dentistry is housed in the same floor as the discipline of Orthodontics and was planned as a joint Department initially. This facilitates the joint supervision and clinical management of all aspects of the growth and development of the child patient’s dental and oral needs from infancy through adolescence. The clinical activities are well supported by fully certified dental surgery assistants who teach the students the use of four-handed sit down dentistry.
Education in Paediatric Dentistry
The HKU Faculty of Dentistry is the only dental school in Hong Kong, and is considered to be the premier centre for postgraduate dental education and training globally.
Students enjoy first-class teaching and state-of-the-art learning facilities at the newly established specialist dental clinic – The Institute for Advanced Dentistry Multi-Specialty Clinic (IAD-MSC), which located at Sai Wan (HKU MTR Exit B1). The IAD-MSC is a Centre of Excellence created to manage complex and severe oral conditions.
Apart from the IAD-MSC, the Faculty is equipped, amongst many other things, with a Simulation Laboratory for dental students’ self-practice, a fleet of modern research laboratories, comprehensive and advanced library holdings, and a Lounge. All these are located in the Prince Philip Dental Hospital (PPDH), which is about 5 -10 mins walk away from the University’s Main Campus on Pokfulam Road.
There are also many other teaching facilities and amenities for students’ use on the Main Campus, including the impressive and popular Student Learning Commons.
The professoriate and teaching staff are international both by origin and academic background, many of whom are highly recognized experts in their domain in the world. We also have highly-skilled dedicated manpower to assist learning. Dental surgery assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians and laboratory technicians are but a few groups of staff employed by the Faculty of Dentistry to assist learning.
The taught postgraduate programmes which have an esteemed reputation cover and lead to the the Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) Degree in Paediatric Dentistry. The programme fulfil the specialist training requirements of dental specialties of the College of Dental Surgeons of Hong Kong of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine.
There is a limited number of self-financing places in each specialty programme. Some government-funded places may be available for local candidates. Candidates who are interested in studying the MDS degree in a specific specialty are advised to apply for admissions to the relevant curriculum. Candidates who fulfil the eligibility criteria for the government-funded places and who have demonstrated academic merit may be offered a place within the government-funded quota of places.
Details of the postgraduate programmes are given on the website.
The Paediatric Dentistry Clinic provides patient care primarily for teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students. Private patients are also seen but they all require a written referral letter and are then seen by the teaching staff.
The scope of dental treatment ranges from preventive, restorative, surgical, prosthodontics, orthodontics to full mouth rehabilitation under general anaesthesia (GA). Comprehensive dental treatment under GA is provided weekly at the Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital and Queen Mary Hospital.
The Special Needs Patient Clinic in the Discipline of Paediatric Dentistry delivers quality dental services to medically compromised, mentally and physically disabled children who are unable to obtain dental care from the general dental practitioners.
The Discipline of Paediatric Dentistry also contributes its expertise to the Hong Kong Cleft lip and Plate Centre, which is based at the Prince Philip Dental Hospital. Joint consultation meetings are arranged twice a month, which bring together specialists from different disciplines including paediatric dentistry, orthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oral rehabilitation and speech and hearing science for the care and management of children with cleft lip and palate.
The principal research interests of the Discipline of Paediatric Dentistry are in the following areas: epidemiological studies of early childhood caries; dental anomalies and developmental defects; cleft lip and palate; clinical studies of dental materials; laboratory and clinical studies on remineralization, enamel and bonding agents and oral health of special needs children. Many publications in International Refereed Journal are published each year by the staff and PG students.
Specialist Training Pathways in Paediatric Dentistry in Hong Kong
With the establishment of the College of Dental Surgeons of Hong Kong (CDSHK) in the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (HKAM), the Dental Council of Hong Kong only recognizes the specialist status of Fellowships and Memberships offered by the CDSHK.
The basic and higher specialist training in Paediatric Dentistry in Hong Kong is a joint endeavour between the Discipline of Paediatric Dentistry at the Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong and the Government School Dental Care Service.
The full time specialist training in Paediatric Dentistry leading to the Specialist Fellowship (FCDSHK Paediatric Dentistry) should be for a minimum duration of 6 years, with an Intermediate Examination after 3 years followed by a 3 year Higher Training programme leading to the Exit Examination.
The typical sequence of training is shown below:
- A basic dental degree from the University of Hong Kong or equivalent institution approved by the College of Dental Surgeons of Hong Kong, will be the entry requirement for the full time basic training in Paediatric Dentistry.
- In year 1 of the training programme, the candidate is expected to gain appropriate experience in general/hospital dentistry at the University of Hong Kong and or the Department of Health Dental Services, or other supervised practices.
- Year 2 to 4 should be a full time, structured, institute based training programme in Paediatric Dentistry in approved training institutions.
- Before entry into the Higher Training programme, the candidate must have successfully completed the Intermediate Examination in Paediatric Dentistry of the College of Dental Surgeons of Hong Kong, which is a conjoint examination with the Membership in Paediatric Dentistry of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
- Year 5 and 6 of the Programme should be a structured Higher Training period in an approved programme at a training institute or approved practice in conjunction with a training institute.
- Before accreditation as a trained specialist, the candidate must successfully complete an Exit Examination in Paediatric Dentistry conducted by the Specialty Board in Paediatric Dentistry of the College of Dental Surgeons of Hong Kong of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine
Government Dental Service for Children of Hong Kong
The Department of Health (DH) of Hong Kong delivers oral health education and promotion programmes and preventive dental care services for the children of Hong Kong through its Oral Health Education Division (www.toothclub.gov.hk) and the School Dental Care Service (www.schooldental.gov.hk).
The Oral Health Education Division of the DH aims to promote oral health to the general public of Hong Kong. It organizes oral health education programmes targeting at young children. The “Brighter Smiles for the New Generation” programme, launched since 1993, aims to help children under age 6 establish good toothbrushing and smart dietary habit for the prevention of dental diseases since early childhood. It also produces different types of specially-designed educational resources to disseminate the message of oral health to pre-school children and their parents through Maternal and Child Health Centres, kindergartens and nurseries. Besides, the webpage of the Division (www.toothclub.gov.hk) is updated from time to time through which the public can have ready access to oral health information.
For children with intellectual disability, the Oral Health Education Division conducts the “Dandelion Oral Care Action” programme for students with mild and moderate intellectual disabilities studying in special schools. The Division collaborates with the schools and parents and teaches them to practice the correct toothbrushing and flossing techniques for taking care of the children’s oral health so that they are able to clean their teeth well and maintain healthy teeth and gum when they leave school.
A “Love Teeth Campaign” is launched annually by DH with the objective of facilitating the development of proper oral health habits and tooth cleaning techniques among the general public. The OH also monitors the level of fluoridation in the communal water supply in order to reduce dental decay among the population.
Apart from this, DH updates the webpage of the Oral Health Education Unit (www.toothclub.gov.hk) from time to time, through which the public can have ready access to oral health information. The Department of Health also monitors the level of fluoridation in the communal water supply in order to reduce dental decay among the population.
Specialists Paediatric Dentists in Private Practice
As at June 2022, there is a total of 36 registered Specialists in Paediatric Dentistry in Hong Kong and 16 of them are in private practice. The majority of the patients treated by this group of Paediatric dentists are young children who are not yet eligible for the Government subsidized dental service. Thus these patients will have to receive dental care in the private sector.
Another category of Paediatric patients that are often treated in private practice are the special needs group such as children with autism, syndromes and mentally or physically disabled.
Whenever these patients are unable to cooperate under routine clinical settings, they have to be treated under office sedation or deep sedation.
In 2018, all dental patients who need office sedation / deep sedation (MAC) must be treated under dental offices registered as day procedure centres after the Private Healthcare Facilities Ordinance (the Ordinance) (Cap. 633) was gazetted.
“Day procedure centres” (DPCs) refer to premises that do not form part of the premises of a hospital, and that are used, or intended to be used, for carrying out high- risk procedures. Anaesthetic care in dental offices fall into these high-risk medical procedure category.
Severely disabled children with severe dental diseases are also treated in the Hospital under GA by paediatric dental specialists.