All 20 credits, unless otherwise stated:
Foundation in Materials Science
This module is designed to provide each student with adequate grounding for the remainder of the curriculum. The module will provide fundamental knowledge (either as a refresher or developed and applied learning) in mechanical, physical and chemical properties and applying them to the function of dental materials in clinical service.
Many aspects of processing dental materials at the chairside and in the dental laboratory involve polymerization reactions: from the manufacture of denture bases, photopolymerization of resin restorative materials, to taking impressions of hard and soft tissue. The purpose of this module is to extend the students’ understanding of basic polymer science principles (learnt or recapped in Foundation in Materials Science) to advance knowledge in a variety polymer-based systems and related processing technologies used in dentistry.
Ceramic and Cement Systems
Ceramics represent an important material class used in dentistry with unique mechanical, chemical and optical properties. This module will consider the various classes of ceramic systems from traditional feldspathic porcelain to pressable, milled and 3D-printable materials. The module will also provide a detailed understanding of the structure-property relationships of cements and liners, either as a restorative material or for retention of laboratory processed dental prostheses, ranging from traditional zinc phosphate cements to hydraulic silicates (for endodontics), ion-leachable glasses, and resin-based adhesives.
Metals and metal alloys play an important role in dentistry, as in many technologies, because of their unique combination of properties. It is important for students to develop a systematic understanding of the effects of structure on the key properties of metals and metal alloys. The purpose of this module is to describe and apply the fundamentals of metal structure and alloy constitution to mechanical, chemical (corrosion) and biological properties of metallic dental materials.
Biological Interactions of Dental Materials
The success or failure of dental materials depends on many factors, not least the interactions with tissues, cells and microbes. This module will link aspects of materials to human cells and also address bacterial infections, antimicrobial techniques and covering the important aspect of antimicrobial resistance, including: an introduction/revision to eukaryotic cells and bacteria relevant in the oral cavity, an overview of cell and tissue interactions with both conventional and novel materials, tissue regeneration, cytotoxicity and wound healing.
Emerging Materials and Related Technologies
The aim of this module is to generate an understanding of how new technologies impact upon the development of biomaterials and to inform students of the current possibilities and future potential of such materials and technologies. Tissue engineering, novel restorative materials and imaging technologies will be covered, and their advantages and limitations discussed. In addition, students will be introduced to relevant translational factors such as regulatory matters and intellectual property rights that affect the development of new therapeutic solutions.
Final Research Project – 60 credits
The MSc programme has a strong focus on research training with 4 of the 6 modules that precede the Final Research Project providing a platform for proper application, design, execution, analysis and reporting experimental work. The 16 week, 60-credit research project will provide students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills developed in Semesters 1 and 2 related to the key properties, limitations and failures of dental materials.
For each core module, a practical component will provide students with full training on a wide range of state-of-the-art research equipment fostering robust critical analysis and techniques for scientific research. Each of the six, 20-credit and one, 60-credit modules will run separately and consecutively to allow for part-time study, and also to provide logical progression and development of interrelated concepts and research skills.
Examples of previous research project titles include:
- The effect of filler particle morphology on spatial and temporal cure in light curable resin based materials
- Determination of the attenuation coefficient of dentine for photodisinfection and photobiomodulation
- Bacterial decontamination of dental tissues using novel non-antibiotic light-based technologies
- Antimicrobial properties of materials used in vital pulp therapy
Overall the skills you will gain include:
- Research methodology
- Analysis and data interpretation
- Presentation skills
- Critical appraisal