Established in 1921, the Faculty of Dentistry is one of RSU's oldest. The principles for its operation were developed in the pre-war University of Latvia’s Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Dentistry.
RSU Faculty of Dentistry’s modern second level professional higher education 5-year programme, recognised in the European Union, produces qualified dentists, whose knowledge and practical skills are sufficient to practice in general dentistry – treat patients with oral cavity and tooth diseases, carry out educative activities for the prevention of the mentioned diseases.
Study programme descriptions
Study Programme Dentistry (ECTS guide & curriculum available here) Head of Study Programme Ingrīda Čēma, DDS, Professor Degree Awarded Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) Study Type Full-time Programme Length 5 years (10 semesters), 300 ECTS Programme Goals The goal of the Dentistry study programme is to prepare students for becoming qualified dentists whose knowledge and practical skills would allow them to practice in general dentistry, i.e., treat patients with oral cavity and teeth illnesses as well as be able to hold practical and educational events of dental illness prevention Further Career Students may continue their education in the post-graduate Residency study programmes: orthodontics, teeth prosthetics, endodontics, periodontics, paediatric dentistry or maxillofacial surgery Teaching Language English
- Dental Hygiene
Study Programme Dental Hygiene Head of Study Programme Egita Senakola, Associate Professor Degree Awarded Qualification of a Dental Hygienist Study Type Full-time Programme Length 2 years (4 semesters), 120 ECTS Programme Goals The goal of the Dental Hygienist study programme is to train qualified specialists of medical care in dentistry. Dental hygienists ensure the prevention of oral illnesses and draft clinical (periodontical) treatment plans, ensuring their completion and evaluation. They also have to ensure infection control measures and maintain a safe environment in the dental office. Dental hygienists must also take care of educational events to promote oral illness prevention, participate in the planning, organisation and evaluation of dental care along with the dental team and members of other fields Further Career Upon successful completion of the study programme graduates can work in hospitals, clinics, outpatient clinics and dental practices as dental hygienists Teaching Language Latvian (individual applications for studies in English are not accepted)
The clinical base where Dentistry’s specialised disciplines can be learned is the Institute of Dentistry – an internationally recognised high quality practical dentistry centre, located next to the University's main building. The Institute of Dentistry is a leading diagnostics centre in orthodontics, prosthodontics and oral maxillofacial surgery in the region, and hence is able to ensure undergraduate as well as postgraduate study programmes. This internationally acclaimed centre for practical dentistry in Latvia provides outstanding education and the mastering of theoretical knowledge and practical skills under the supervision of the most qualified and renowned academics and practitioners in Latvia and in Europe.
Students’ professional instruction takes place in five departments of the Faculty of Dentistry:
- Conservative Dentistry
- Prosthetic Dentistry
- Oral Pathology
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
The School of Dental Hygiene and the Latvian Dental Students Association operate within the Faculty.
Several of the Faculty’s lecturers and its Dean are members of the prestigious honorary dental organization, the Pierre Fauchard Academy.
The origins of the Faculty of Dentistry can be found in 1921, when at the Latvian Dental Society’s suggestion, the University of Latvia’s (LU) Faculty of Medicine established a Department of Dentistry with 18 students. Associate Professor, later Professor K. Barons (1865 - 1944) became its first head.
Through the benevolence of the Minister of Education at the time, A. Dauge, the Department of Dentistry was provided with space at 9 Stabu Street in 1922, and was fitted out and named the LU Dental institute.
The first Latvian female dentist – Late Veibele-Jakovļeva became Professor K. Baron’s Assistant in 1923, and she worked at the LU Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Dentistry until 1934.
In 1925, Dr. med. dent. Adam Ehrlein transferred to the University of Latvia from Heidelberg University in Germany. One of his students, Dominiks Kalvelis, was the next Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry. The first three years of study were on theoretical subjects, work with artificial models and in the assisting of final year students. The final year students had to learn how to receive patients correctly, work with instruments, medication, undertake testing, set diagnoses and to operate confidently, skilfully and carefully. Prior to the State examinations each student had to deliver a scientific work. Each year the University of Latvia Department of Dentistry matriculated 30 to 50 students, and up till the Second World War 334 persons in total had completed their studies there. In 1938 there were 837 dentists in Latvia, but in 1945 – only 178 remained.
In 1950, the USSR Council of Ministers decided to remove the Faculty of Medicine from the State University of Latvia (SUL) and to open what is considered the direct fore-runner of RSU, Rīga Medical Institute (RMI). The SUL Department of Dentistry was renamed the RMI Faculty of Stomatology. After the tragic death of the Department of Dentistry’s first Dean Professor Kārlis Barons (1920 - 1944), Professor Domeniks Kalvelis in 1944, renewed instruction in dentistry and passed on pre-war Latvia’s medical intelligentsia’s European traditions. With the establishment of the Faculty of Stomatology, he agreed to become its Dean (1944 - 1966).
Three departments began work in the Faculty: Therapeutic, Surgical and Orthopaedic Stomatology. The name of the Faculty – “stomatology” was chosen mainly for two reasons: firstly, the field of work was much wider than the treatment of teeth. It also included the prevention and treatment of face, jaw and oral cavity diseases, and secondly, a dentistry school also operated in Rīga at the time. The Dental Institute in Stabu iela was transformed into the Integrated Republican Stomatological Polyclinic, which continued to be the clinical base for the instruction of students.
The Faculty of Stomatology’s course of instruction was five years long. Each year it matriculated 25 students from the Latvian stream and 25 students from the Russian stream. For the first two years the stomatology students studied together with the students of the Faculty of Treatment, but on commencing the 3rd Year, along with the general medical disciplines, teaching in three departments associated with stomatology was organised. The unified teaching plan had to be observed, in which teaching in the specialised dental disciplines was significantly reduced, increasing the proportion of general medical education and ideological subjects. The proportion of subjects in the programme associated directly with stomatology reached a bit less than 40%. On graduating from the Faculty, the qualification “Doctor – Stomatologist” was entered on the diploma.
In 1966, Professor Indulis Bākulis who was also the Head of the Surgical Stomatology Department was appointed Dean of the Faculty. He headed the Faculty until 1976, and was respected and loved by colleagues and students.
In 1968, a building at Dzirciema Street 20 was built for the needs of the Faculty, providing it with the modern equipment of the time. Student scientific groups began their activities in each of the stomatology departments.
From 1976 until 1993, the Faculty of Stomatology was headed by Professor Gunārs Pakalns. At the beginning of the 90’s changes began in dental education. The teaching staff, as much as possible, created programmes in accordance with the university teaching criteria of the countries of the European community. The five year course was maintained.
Beginning with the 1991/1992 academic year, only 40 students were accepted, forming one stream. In 1990, the first foreign students were also accepted. In the 1993/94 academic year, students accepted into the first year were already being taught to an internationally recognised plan.
From 1993 to 1994 Associate Professor Egils Korņevs was the Dean of the Faculty. Professor Ilga Urtāne continued in this job until 1999.
In 1994, collaboration was commenced with the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and the Oslo and Wales Universities in the creation of a new study programme and to acquire experience for teaching staff. The number of lessons was increased in special dental subjects and many new subjects were introduced. Subjects associated with dentistry already made up 60% of all subjects.
On 1 July 1994, the Institute of Stomatology was also re-established as a unit of the Medical Academy of Latvia.
In 1995, the School of Oral Hygiene was founded (it existed until 2003, re-established in 2007). Associate Professor Egita Senakola became its Head.
In 1995, the first foreign students completed their studies.
In 1994, they began to write “Degree conferred – Stomatologist,” in the diploma but from 1997 – “Degree conferred – Dentist”.
Professor Ilze Akota was the Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry from 1999 until 2003.
In 1999, the Dental Students Scientific Group was re-established. Since 2000, each year one of the Faculty of Dentistry students presents his/her independent research results at the international student conference organised by Dentsply in Copenhagen, which takes place as part of the Scandinavian Dental Fair.
In 2000 the Faculty of Dentistry study programme was evaluated by international experts chosen by the Association for Dental Education in Europe (ADEE), who indicated achievements and any corrections necessary.
In 2001, the University and the Faculty of Dentistry became members of the Association for Dental Education in Europe. The Faculty is involved in EU financed projects for the further improvement of dental education and the possible convergence of DentEd and DentEdEvolves in Europe.
In 2003, Professor Ingrīda Čēma was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry.
Since 2005, Faculty students have been included in the ERASMUS teaching study exchange, adding to their knowledge at a European university.
In 2007, a Latvian Dental Students Association (LDSA) was established for the first time in the Faculty’s history.
Since January 2009, a new tradition borrowed from American universities was begun at the Faculty – the “White Coat Ceremony”, which symbolises the 3rd Year students’ transition from pre-clinical instruction to practical work with patients at the clinic.
In May 2010 another new tradition was commenced – the student scientific research and best literature summary presentation event which is organised by the Faculty of Dentistry’s Student Scientific Group.
In December 2013, Professor Ilga Urtāne was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry.