On behalf of IAOMT Philippines, Dr. Lillian Lasaten-Ebuena also a partner of Asian Center for Environmental Health have recognized and appreciated the initiative of the Dean Arturo P. De Leon, of Our Lady of Fatima University College of Dentistry and awarded him a plaque of appreciation as he initiated the move to their curriculum change in college of dentistry on Dental Amalgam handling of Dental Students when the school year started in July 1, 2105.
Asian Center for Environmental Health also congratulate and highly appreciate the initiatives of the Dean Dr Arturo de Leon. We believe it will encourage and inspire to push other dental colleges and schools across the world especially South-Asian countries to do the same initiative as “Our Lady of Fatima University’s Dental College (OLFU’s)” did.
“In our own little way,” explains Dr de Leon, “We try to be responsible and minimize the release of toxic mercury vapors and wastes into the environment.” Understanding that mercury vapour is toxic he does not like his students be exposed to vapors of mercury and that he restricts medium of instruction on dental amalgam through video.
While a majority of Philippine dental schools are heavily-focused on dental amalgam – often obligating and needlessly exposing dentistry students to its vapors without the use of safety gears or training – the OLFU’s Dental College has been following amalgam-free procedures and is the first dental college to incorporate safety procedures and environmental awareness in the curriculum. However, the dental college is still obligated to teach dental amalgam use to students as the bulk of Philippine dental board exams are based on successful amalgam restorations.
The college trains student with video lectures and honing their skills with wax instead of amalgam. Yet, despite this innovative approach, OLFU’s Dental College boasts of top notch graduates and are consistent board passers.
However they still respect the principles of the GV Blacks principle in preparing tooth restorations but placement of fillings he allows the students to use a non-Mercury filling.
Although OLFU’s Dental College is not 100 percent mercury-free, its ingenuity in limiting the use of dental amalgam and exposing the environment to its ill effects definitely applauded. Together with their decreased demand for dental amalgam, the college is also planning to put up a separate section for special cases demanding dental amalgam restorations. Not only is this environmentally sound but it minimizes operating costs and potential unwarranted exposure of other students, faculty, and patients.
As together we, “Asian Center for Environmental Health” are preparing to meet its obligations under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, OLFU’s Dental College could serve as a role model for dental colleges. After decades of dental amalgam use, it may be difficult for dental colleges to transition to a mercury-free programme but OLFU’s Dental College has proven that it is possible.
Besides this, by adopting the change curriculum, every dental student can be prepared for these awareness so when they become dentists they will all be responsible towards human as well as environment since there are also a lot of chemical and hazardous wastes that every dental clinic generates to the environment.