Innovative teaching of surface anatomy

An innovative teaching idea has developed a deeper understanding of the surface anatomy and 3D arrangement of the face and the floor of the mouth for 1st year dental students.

During two unique and interactive anatomy revision sessions, anatomy was turned inside out seeing students carefully painting the muscles and neurovascular structures of the face and neck onto the skin, and modelling the muscles directly onto the skeleton of the head and neck.

Unlike a lecture or more traditional anatomy class, students can work as a team in a relaxed atmosphere and get to express their creativity.

Using anatomical body painting, students can visualise the important structures lying beneath the skin, and use key landmarks and reference points to track structures.

Modelling with plasticine directly on mandible and hyoid bone models, students built up the whole floor of the mouth and tongue, muscle by muscle, adding in the keys nerves and ducts, to gain a type of visualisation and understanding of the anatomy directly applicable to everyday life as a dentist, out with the dissection room.

Hopefully this session was an enjoyable break from traditional revision, and the knowledge gained will stick with them throughout their careers.

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