Dr Robert Wassell
Consultant/Senior Lecturer

  • Email: robert.wassell@ncl.ac.uk
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8195
  • Address: Restorative Dentistry (Conservation)
    School of Dental Sciences
    Newcastle University
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE2 4BW

Background

Following my BDS in 1977 I achieved a strong practical background in dentistry via 5 years in general dental practice and a busy senior house officer rotation in Oral Surgery. My academic and research credentials had their roots in the MSc in Conservative Dentistry (1983-84). I was appointed as lecturer in Restorative Dentistry at Newcastle University in 1987 when I established the MSc in Restorative Dentistry and new teaching programmes, for undergraduates and postgraduates, in occlusion and management of Temporomandibular Disorders. My PhD in composite inlay development was awarded in 1992. I was appointed senior lecturer and honorary consultant in 1996. My clinical interests are in dental occlusion and management of TMD. My research in TMD is recognised internationally. I also continue with materials related research particularly for Master of Clinical Dentistry (MClinDent) in Restorative Dentistry and PhD projects. The two year MClinDent programme superseded the MSc programme in 2012.

Roles and Responsibilities

Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Restorative Dentistry, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Degree Programme Director MClinDent in Restorative Dentistry
Course Director - Occlusion teaching (undergraduate and postgraduate)
Course Director - Temporomandibular Disorders teaching (undergraduate and postgraduate)

Senior Academic Staff representative School Executive

School representative - FLTSEC International Learning and Teaching Strategy Sub Group

Past Chairman of Directorate of Dentistry and Dental Hospital Control of Infection Committee 

Qualifications

PhD, MSc, BDS, FDS

Memberships

International Association of Dental Research
British Society of Dental Research
British Dental Association
British Society of Restorative Dentistry

Honours and Awards

Shirley Glasstone Hughes Award

My clinical teaching duties involve both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Five clinical teaching sessions are allocated each week including a diagnostic clinic and personal treatment session attended by students.

Undergraduate teaching involves clinical and pre-clinical training for 2nd to 5th year students. I am Course Director for "Management of TMD" which is now integrated into the 4th year BDS Human Diseases Course. I am also Course Director for the "Occlusion" courses. In addition I provide lecturing, seminar provision and chairside teaching for the following courses:

  • Key Clinical Skills (year 2)
  • Crown and Bridge course (year 4) 

 My internal examiner duties relate to BDS stages 2, 3, 4 and finals.

I am lead author for two textbooks popular with both undergraduate and postgraduate students:

  • Crowns and Other Extra Coronal Restorations, BDJ Publications, London
  • Applied Occlusion, Quintessence Publications, Berlin 

Both of these books are being considered for second edition.

Postgraduate teaching involves the MClinDent in Restorative Dentistry, GPT and STR training, keynote conference speaker and external examiner. In 2012 I led an important development which was the introduction of a Tier 5 International Clinical Training Fellow programme in collaboration with the Universtiy, Trust, Royal College of Surgeons, London, and the Malaysian Government. This 12 month programme was tailored for management of wear cases but could in future be used to provide training in other aspects of dentistry.

I am responsible for running the MClinDent in Restorative Dentistry. This is a two-year taught programme with clinical, academic and research components. Currently, we have 9 students enrolled. The course is recognised as being in the vanguard of postgraduate education and is popular with international and EU students as well as providing a component of training for Restorative Specialist Trainees.

My current external examiner appointments are:

  • MClin Dent, Restorative in Conservative Dentistry, University Malaya, KL
  • MSc and Diploma in Dental Practice, Prince Philip Dental Hospital, Hong Kong

In 2012 I gave a key note lecture on Occlusion at the British Dental Association Annual Conference, Manchester, and presented two one day BDA seminars on Occlusion in Leeds and London. I provide two days of occlusion teaching at the Royal College of Surgeons, England as part of their Diploma in Restorative Dentistry.

Research Interests

My two dominant research interests lie in Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) and Dental Materials Science. The main thrust of our TMD research is to devise a Quality of Life outcome measure for clinical and research use. I actively collaborate with Professor Jimmy Steele, Dr Finbarr Allen (Cork) and a group led by Dr Mike John from the University of Leipzig which is exploring psychosocial aspects related to TMD diagnosis. Our outcome measure project has already involved two PhD students. Justin Durham, Pamela Yule and I are now completing the final phase to test the putative measure clinically. The results will be presented in March 2013 at the IADR, Seattle, USA. We have also involved an MSc student, Fatin Hasanain in important work to simplify the Research Diagnostic Criteria to allow dentists to make an accurate clinical diagnosis of TMD.

My current Dental Materials Science interests involve composites, tooth preparation with dental lasers and testing of impression material properties. Work in this area has contributed to two PhDs and a DDS. Importantly, Dental Materials Science projects are popular with MClinDent Students. I am currently working with Matt German and Giles McCracken supervising 4 such projects.

The research component of the MClinDent in Restorative Dentistry comprises 40% of the overall marks and students are expected to spend that proportion of their time on their research projects. Where possible, I encourage students to select research subjects to fit in with supervisors’ research programmes enabling projects to support the School’s research profile. The format of the dissertation encourages preparation of a manuscript for submission to a targeted journal. Approximately half the projects are published in mainstream dental journals.

Future Research

Expansion of TMD research

Funding

Bench fees from Clinical PhDs (2x3y = £36,000)
Bench fees from taught MScs (4x2y = £4,000)

TC White Award, RCPS Glasgow (Joint supervision of Pamela Yule with Justin Durham) £10000