Peter Szymanek lies on the dentist's chair with his mouth wide open. "Here we have crowns, there the implants and here again some crowns." Explanation Ava Bracher points to the different places in her patient's mouth. The 22-year-old dentistry student has been treating Peter Szymanek since the autumn. Senior doctor Ramona Buser, who looks over her shoulders, nods approvingly. "An exceptionally complex case."
That is not surprising. For the past 20 years Peter Szymanek, now 71, has "almost neglected his teeth", as he says himself. As a busy construction manager he traveled in half of Switzerland. He only went to the dentist if he hurt something and that was no different. Then he usually had a "bad" tooth – and the case was done for him again. By the time he retired, he realized that delaying his dental problems could cost him a lot. Another reason to postpone the rehabilitation of the dentures.
The work on patients is part of the study
But then came the impulse to finally tackle the case: On the Open Day of the dental clinics of the University of Bern (ZMK) ) last year, Peter Szymanek discovered the possibility of being treated accidentally by students.
"I think it would be a good idea to be treated by students, you should be able to practice." Peter Szymanek, Patient of a Bernese dental student
The background: in the context of her five-year study, all future dentists in Switzerland have to work on real patients, having had first hands-on experience with dolls (phantom heads) and fellow students.
Especially interesting for patients: the costs of treatment in a student course or a student clinic – the name varies per university – at best costs only a third of what a trained dentist needs. "I had no idea that such a thing exists," Szymanek asks himself. "But I thought that was a sensible idea. The students must finally be able to practice. And as a patient I can still save money. »
« Patients pay with their time »
Individual treatment sessions by students take longer than regular dentists. This is because the junior staff understandably is not so experienced yet, but also because each of their treatment steps must be explained and documented down to the smallest details. "Patients pay more with their time," says senior doctor Ramona Buser, who is jointly responsible for the student courses in Bern.
In the & # 39; exceptionally complex & # 39; Peter Szymanek's case means that he has completed about 50 treatments in the clinic since October last year. "As a pensioner I now have time", he says with a smile. In addition, he appreciates the personal relationship that automatically results in the treatment team during this long time. When student Ava Bracher asks him for the dental chair – for many people an unhappy idea – he takes his place with a smile. And then the two even change one or the other private word. On this day the final exam is planned for the student. Ava Bracher again checks the crowns and bridges she has placed over the past weeks and months. "All fixed as desired," she explains, "so that we can avoid a prosthesis."
Work on patients is important for education
Fear that students had to serve as "guinea pigs" Peter Szymanek never had. The dental clinics of the University of Bern promise their patients to guarantee the quality of the treatments. "Our assistant and senior doctors check every step of the students," says senior doctor Ramona Buser. Special or demanding work, such as implants or revision of root canals, is also performed by a medical assistant; then help the students. Ava Bracher points out another plus point: "We students are under extreme pressure because we absolutely do not want to do anything wrong."
Practical work on patients has always been an important part of dental training in Germany. "This concept has been very successful," says Marco Tackenberg of the SSO of Swiss dentistry. "Anyone treated by a dentist trained in Switzerland can assume that he has practical experience with real patients." This is not clear everywhere in Europe, as a French study showed two years ago. Tackenberg: "Practical experience ensures more safety for the patients." Soon the next student takes over
In the meantime Ava Bracher has nearly finished her final exams, most of the extensive dental restoration has been done. "It was already a change from the phantom head to a patient of flesh and blood," the student looks back and pushes her mouth protector down. "The phantom, for example, has no tongue and no saliva – both make the work very different."
When Peter Szymanek gets up, there is almost a little sadness in the air. "I am very satisfied with your work, Mrs. Bracher," he thanked the student. "I wish you all the best and, of course, good luck at the state exam."
The rest of his treatment will be taken over by the next student in the fall.
Created: 19.08.2018, 19:40
Am I a suitable exercise patient?
The great advantage of treatment by students in dentistry is the cost savings. Clearly cheaper than a trained dentist are obviously only the clinical dental practices, any dental technique or material costs are regularly charged. Nevertheless, the saving effect is considerable: about 60 percent cheaper are the clinical work (filling, pulling, cleaning teeth) and 25 percent cheaper prosthetic work (crowns, bridges, prostheses). Further incentives: if necessary, applications for additional benefits or social assistance will also be submitted. So also socially disadvantaged people can be treated. Particularly suitable are the student courses for anxious patients. "They are in good hands with us, because we can spend a lot of time and respond to them", explains Ramona Buser from the dental clinics in Bern.
On the other hand, there are also many demands from the "exercise patients". You also need time and patience. They must be flexible in terms of time.
As a rule, a treatment session takes about twice as long as a trained dentist. And reliability is even more important than the time factor: terminating in the short term or even forgetting an appointment – this disturbs the entire training schedule of the student.
Dentists are trained in Bern and at the universities of Zurich, Basel and Geneva. Here are the addresses of the four Swiss "student hospitals":
- Dental clinics of the University of Bern, Freiburgstr. 7, 3010 Bern
Tel. 031 632 25 72
- Center for Dentistry, Plattenstr. 11, 8032 Zurich
Tel. 044 634 33 11
- University dental clinics, Hebelstr. 3, 4056 Basel
Tel. 061 267 26 31
- Clinique universitaire de
médecine dentaire, rue Michel-Napet, 1211 Geneva 4
Tel. 022 379 40 00