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November 2021   |   Volume 23 No. 1

Advanced and Affordable Care

The Multi-Specialty Clinic provides students with clinical training opportunities and the public with affordable specialised dental treatment.
The Faculty of Dentistry’s new Multi-Specialty Clinic is training a new generation of specialist dentists and also rendering complex treatment affordable to the general public.

Opened in autumn last year, the state-of-the-art Institute for Advanced Dentistry – Multi-Specialty Clinic (IAD-MSC) is Hong Kong’s only training facility that provides advanced clinical training for qualified dentists pursuing taught postgraduate (TPG) training in the dental specialties of the College of Dental Surgeons of Hong Kong.

“The overall plan is to work in tandem with local general dentists,” said Professor Thomas Flemmig, Dean of Dentistry. “We’re training specialists and providing specialty dental care to patients. We work closely with dentists practising in Hong Kong, so that together we can provide the best comprehensive care.

“Hong Kong now has three tiers of care: primary care provided by local general dentists; secondary care provided by the specialists we are training at the IAD-MSC; and tertiary care provided by hospitals to which we refer patients.”

“We will also make sure that specialist-level care is available at an affordable price to the public,” said Mr Eric Tsui, Director of the IADMSC. “Costs are significantly lower than the going rates in Hong Kong. It is important to note that while the Clinic operates on a not-for-profit basis we must recuperate patient treatment costs. It does need to pay for itself.”

Dentistry MSC

The Multi-Specialty Clinic is equipped with modern state-of-the-art facilities and equipment so that students can learn to provide the most advanced dental treatments to their patients.

Essential service

At the same time, Mr Tsui sees the Clinic as an essential service in Hong Kong. “In the larger context, there are approximately 32 dentists per 100,000 people in Hong Kong – which is pretty low compared to other modern cities – and there are even fewer dental specialists.

“The Hong Kong Government does not fund advanced dental care for the public but we want to enhance access to high-quality specialist care in Hong Kong. The Clinic welcomes referrals from public and private dental clinics.”

The Institute for Advanced Dentistry was approved in 2017. In addition to the training programmes in the Multi-Specialty Clinic, it houses the Faculty’s research postgraduate (RPG) programmes, the Global Dental Campus and the Oral Health Research and Innovation Initiative. The University needed to expand the IAD-MSC out of the Prince Philip Dental Hospital, the Faculty’s main teaching and learning hub, and it was also seen as an opportunity for TPG clinical innovation.

Located next door to HKU’s main campus, the 15,000-square-foot Clinic has an impressive suite of facilities including 45 dental chairs, all of which have state-of-the-art equipment for digital dentistry. There are operating facilities, 2D and 3D radiography, an advanced dental laboratory, and a central sterile supply unit of modern hospital standard.

The Clinic offers training in seven disciplines – Endodontics, Implant Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Paediatric Dentistry, Periodontology and Prosthodontics. Resident dentists are taught by clinical experts. Other TPG programmes of the Faculty include Community Dentistry and Dental Materials Science.

“Full-time professors and honorary clinical staff work closely together to achieve clinical excellence,” said Professor Flemmig. “One out of every 10 practising dentists in Hong Kong is involved.”

Group photo

From left: Dr Katherine Leung, Associate Dean of Dentistry (Taught Postgraduate Education); Professor Thomas Flemmig, Dean of Dentistry; and Mr Eric Tsui, Director of the Institute for Advanced Dentistry – Multi-Specialty Clinic.

Positive clinical practices

Dr Katherine Leung, Associate Dean (Taught Postgraduate Education) pointed out that, along with HKU’s Faculty of Dentistry – the only dental school in Hong Kong – the new Clinic is “a leading centre for postgraduate dental education and training globally, offering unique opportunities for students to learn specialist knowledge, implement innovative research and translate both into positive clinical practices for the benefit of individual and public health.

“Students admitted to our three-year Master in Dental Surgery programmes are dentists who have gained at least one year of clinical experience after their undergraduate education,” she added. “Apart from acquiring advanced clinical skills, they are also trained in research and teaching.”

The Clinic follows international standards, and the Faculty is looking to expand it to HKU’s Shenzhen campus in the Greater Bay Area in the near future.

About 100 masters degree students are currently undergoing training at the IAD-MSC. Of those, two thirds are locally trained graduates and one third are non-local – mainly from Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, etc) and other cities in China, as well as the Middle East, Russia, the UK and Australia.

In summary, Professor Flemmig said: “The training of dental specialists at the IAD-MSC will improve access to high-quality dental care and advance the oral health and well-being of the people of Hong Kong.”

The Hong Kong Government does not fund advanced dental care for the public but we want to enhance access to high-quality specialist care in Hong Kong. The Clinic welcomes referrals from public and private dental clinics.