Dr Robert Wassell

  • 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


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 The two year MClinDent programme superseded the two year MSc programme in 2012. In September 2014 the DPD was transferred to Dr James Field but I continue to support the programme following transfer to a part-time Teaching Fellow in January 2015.

Roles and Responsibilities

Teaching Fellow and Honorary Consultant in Restorative Dentistry, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Course Director - Occlusion teaching (undergraduate and postgraduate)
Course Director - Temporomandibular Disorders teaching (undergraduate and postgraduate)

Educational Supervisor for the Clinical Training Programme in Prosthodontics 

Clinical Director for the International Training Fellow Programme 

Past School representative - FLTSEC International Learning and Teaching Strategy Sub Group

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




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 contribute to "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:

  • Applied Occlusion, Quintessence Publications, Berlin (second edition manuscript submitted September 2014)
  • Crowns and Other Extra Coronal Restorations, BDJ Publications, London (second edition to be commenced January 2015)

Postgraduate teaching involves the MClinDent in Restorative Dentistry, GPT and STR training and keynote conference speaker. 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 has been modified to provide further clinical training for MClinDent graduates sponsored by the Malaysian Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. Two trainees are scheduled to enrol, December 2014.

I was previously responsible for establishing and 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.


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 currently 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 have completed the final phase to test the putative measure clinically. The results were presented in March 2013 at the IADR, Seattle, USA and the full manuscript is ready to be submitted for publication. 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 have recently completed 4 such projects with Matt German and Giles McCracken.

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. I have collaborated with the Director of the Centre for Oral Health Research to encourage supervisors to propose research projects for our MClinDent students that 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

To support and advise supervisors carrying out materials related and TMD related research.


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