Passion in Teaching Dentistry with Emphasis on Active Learning at CSU Orange Dental School [Interview][Transcript]

Guest: Dr. Atieh Sadr
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Dr. Atieh Sadr received her DDS (Doctorate of dental sciences) from Mashad Dental School, Iran, in 1995. In 1998, she received her postgraduate, MS (master of science) in endodontics from the same Dental School; she has worked in Mashad Dental School and Rafsanjan Dental School as a teaching assistant, senior lecturer and then subsequently as an Associate Professor in the Department of endodontic Dentistry for more than 8 years. She joined CSU in 2010 and is currently the discipline leader of endodontic program at Orange dental school.

Segment overview: For our Health Academy Series today, Dr. Atieh Sadr from the Charles Sturt University Orange Dental School joins us today to share valuable insights in the field of Dentistry. Her current clinical research is involved the root canal treatment of teeth in young patients which is called ‘Pulp revitalization/revascularization/regeneration’ with a relation to the current stem cell worldwide research and also different root canal irrigation systems.


Health Professional Radio – CSU Orange Dental School

Wayne Bucklar:   You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. This is the Health Academy, our regular look at what’s happening inside academic services in the health industry generally. My guest today is Dr. Atieh Sadr who is from the School of Dentistry. Welcome Atieh to Health Professional Radio.

Dr. Atieh Sadr:   Thanks you so much. Thanks for inviting me.

W:   It’s my pleasure. Now you’ve got an interesting background and also an interesting research agenda. First of all, you’re from Charles Sturt University. Tell us a little bit about that facility.

S:   Yup, that’s one is a very good one because I wanted to explain a bit about here that I’m working at the moment. The Dental School in the Charles Sturt University is I can say it’s a bit new dental school, although it’s around 8 to 9 years old. And they had their second graduation last year, we’re going to have the third one this year. And it’s the five year course that the students, they’re going to pass the five year course to get the Bachelor of Dentistry from CSU. Usually it’s just the main dental campuses in the Orange area the main building that they do most of the teaching – part of it – but there is the different campuses and since you have the different campuses in the different the regional area and that’s in Wagga, in Albury, in Dubbo and in Bathurst. And usually a student will go to different clinics in their 4th year and their 5th year. And mostly in their 5th year for the placement and they go there and see the different patients. If I say that’s the great facility if I compare it with Sydney and other schools as well, that’s very new and then every … we have to just lecturers that coming here from the different universities, that’s a very nice facility, very new one. And our students are very lucky to have all of this facility here and gets to use them, nice as well.

W:   And Atieh, have you been at that facility for long?

S:   It’s about 5 years. So I had the just the background of the teaching in my country, Iran for the 9-10 years and I have done the teaching for 19 years then I came here to ANU to Canberra to do some research so in SEM. So I have done one year I have been there and then after that I came back and then joined my husband, because my husband start to work here as a general practitioner. So I joined him and after that I started working as a dentist and then joined CSU and it’s about just 2010 that I joined CSU to go back to my teaching. I love teaching so I wanted to go back to teaching, so I applied for them, I start teaching again. That’s it, yes.

W:   Yes, academic teaching is one of those things you either love or hate, so…

S:   That’s it, yes. It’s very important, yeah.

W:   So Atieh I guess it’s been a huge shift in academic culture from Iran to Australia.

S:    What do you mean by that? That’s you spend what kind of the work that you do, maybe just yeah for each country that you enter some of the policies is different. There is some guidelines that is different but the main work of the practical work of it and how much you work in that area, that’s something that for me it wasn’t new that’s just because I have worked in that area especially in Endodontics as well. But there is that some of the material change or just the equipment change and then you work with some years. After that from 1, 2 years you get familiar with all of these things. So you get familiar with the guideline and also the policies and everything. So yeah…

W:   Pedagogically is a different way of teaching or is it very similar?

S:   Yeah, but then I say about pedagogically it’s not so much different. If I can say I go back for example when I started teaching in my country in what was that 2008-09 maybe I can see the generation of students that I had was completely different than we have now. And then I talk with my colleagues in my country … they said “that’s yes” because there is completely change of the generation. We have a different generation of just the students now. The things that is different here for example when I see there is most of the thing because in CSU for me as well, maybe it’s not in the other university like Sydney, because this university is mostly distance learning. They’re all just working mostly under just the online things. So there is so many things that should be online, their subjects are outlined before the start of the session and everything. So there is some change of regarding that’s one to get familiar with these things but because all of the pedagogies change with the new generation, then I came here, yes I wanted to get familiar with this change. It’s not because I think mostly because of the area of the chance or just changing of the country because all of this concepts change as well, I feel like this. And you should just make you refresh in that area to get just to be a good teacher I think, yes that’s the thing. I think that’s the main thing, yeah.

W:   And your particular area of interest pedagogically is I see in your bio a focus on “active learning,” How was that translate into practice?

S:   Active learning, the Interest at the moment we just see the generation of the students, when I look at my son, it’s completely different than in just in 2008 …. They are just more complicated savvy, they wanted to try the things themselves as well.  So about the active learning the kids then for example we give them resources. What they do, they should find it and just research for that one and I think that just for dentistry it’s not something new, because it’s all evidence based learning. So I began school of dentistry, you should go back to the evidence and because there is so many of the treatment for your patient as well but you should find the best evidence regarding that. So on the base of that one, we give the resources, we introduce something. We just bring that forward to the students and then the students, they’re going find it and in the base of … active learning so they can search it and then we can discuss it. So we sure, we really like to just facilitate here in the class, we just bring something to the class and just show them and then by discussion, bring another work to them so they can discuss the cases. We see the different cases, how they diagnose the patient and what’s the options of the treatment for the patient and they discuss it and they find the best way or treatment for the patient. So yeah for the best treatment for the patient, for the dentist team that’s the best way of them, just the learning and because that’s the problem based learning, that’s the best way for the student to find a way and then yes, they can treat the patient. And that’s the way in the clinic as well because they should find in the just a short time what’s the option for the patient, discuss it with the patient and then find the best way and then start treatment after the diagnosis.

W:   Now Atieh what is your current research interest?

S:   Because my background, mostly because I have a degree in just dentistry and also specialty in endodontics, in root canal therapy – recently they are just the senior students, I’m working on mostly gathering some, the newest thing that I’m working with the students now and I wanted to find some connection because I’m working in the regional just the university in dental school to find the success failure factors in orthodontics so we’re gathering all of the data of the treatment that have done in 5, 6 years ago. And we want to find out what are the factors for the success of all of this treatment and what’s the factor of the failure of all of this treatment. But the newest one that I’m working with the students also in clinic myself in the private clinic that I’m working in the moment, it’s related to “regenerative endodontictrophy” and that’s a very new term. I think that just the concept of that one, it goes back to them just a bit of tissue engineering. That tissue engineering is very new in medicine as well, stem cell that’s a big thing now I think in medicine and it’s a big thing in dentistry. That’s newer comparing to the medicine as well but the main concept of that one is I’m working with the young … just the patient that I’m seeing, it’s for the patient that had the trauma from the front tooth. Usually from the young patient, I can’t show you because we’re on a phone interview now, but the thing is usually the shape the root of this patient, the end of it is not the conical shape like the adult patients. It’s a bit open end up then and we call it the “open apex root” and in this kind of the patient, we can do the normal kind of treatment or root canal treatment that we do with the adult patient, we can clean easily and we can feel it because the end of it is completely open. So there is some old kind of the treatment that way just treat this patient for 6 months. During the 6 months, 1 year patient comes to just the clinic in the different appointment and we put some material, we try to make a bridge at the end and then do the cleaning and then filling inside the roots. But this new kind of the treatment is like we’re trying not to just do the normal treatment, what we do, we try to activate or bring some kind of the undifferentiated cells or something that looks like the stem cells inside the root and we do it in the less appointment in the runt-to appointment, we try to clean it. And then with some kind of just a special treatment we bring some cells inside and the aim is just the root to develop, we make to just activate the development of the root. So we wanted to make just for passing the time by doing this act and put in a special material in the upper part of the root trying to bring the life back to the roots. So because the normal just a young root usually has very thin walls and it hasn’t developed completely. But this kind of regenerative treatment we wanted with that a stem cell just a concept, we wanted that development continued and the wall get a bit thicker. So it’s less prone to fracture later as well. So we are not doing just a normal just the root canal therapy cleaning and the filling, we don’t fill inside the roots, we just activate inside the roots so make it just develop completely. And it’s very new to the field but at the moment we are at this stage of gathering all of the cases and at the moment, the American Association of Endodontics gathering all of the cases from the different parts of the world. So everyone that just doing endodontic cases, they send it to that just the American Association of Endodontics they’re gathering the data and then they want their just looking for the best guideline for such a treatment. But there is more of this case reports coming in the just in the scientific journals and we see more and more in these cases. I’m doing now with these students, so the students in the clinic, the senior students under my supervision they can do it. It’s just a very just delicate job because it should be done under the microscope, so we have to micro, and fortunately we have that one, so we do it in just the student clinic and also in my private clinic as well. I just give the option to the patient and then they can choose to go to this one because it’s less aggressive compared to the just other type of the treatment as well, yes.

W:   Well I guess I can say there’s a lot for academics because the nature of research is there’s always new but I had no idea that sort of stem cell work was being carried out. That’s very interesting.

S:   Yeah that’s very new as well. At the moment and I think in future at the moment we’re trying although is not exactly … we’re just trying with that to make the bleeding by bringing the blood inside the root. We’re trying to bring some of the stem cells from the end of the root inside. I think in the future with this tissue engineering later as well we can … with tissue engineering to gather all the stem cells. And there is some areas in from the wisdom tooth of the patient, they can gather all of the stem cell just to specifically for each patient and then later they can use it in the different area. And one of the areas is like this, in that just in young tooth when there is trauma that happened on the front one, and they can use it specifically for each patient. So in future there is just a big area, so I think this area of research and it’s a very good one I think. Yeah.

W:   Atieh, an exciting area of research to be involved in and can I say thank you for sharing the story with us today and the story of your research. We wish you well with that and I think you probably at the point we can wish your patients well too because, it sounds like they’re getting the best of treatment for those particular trauma cases.

S:   Thank you so much. Thanks for inviting me and just that’s good that we can talk and the audience, they can know about these things. Thanks for that.

W:   It’s been a pleasure chatting and we’ll do it again sure I’m sure. Thank you for your time.

S:   Thanks very much. You’re welcome, thanks.

W:   You’ve been listening to the Health Academy on Health Professional Radio. This is Wayne Bucklar.

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