The University of Malta in its Statutes of 1907 published the conditions for the Granting of the Diploma in Dental Surgery. At that time there was no formal teaching program and the University acted only as an Examining Body for students who had carried out the specified studies elsewhere.
The first person to graduate, in 1918, was an English Naval Medical Officer, John Eskdale Fishburn, who had carried out his studies at Guy’s Hospital, London. In 1921 the second graduate, and first Maltese, was Egidio Lapira who was to become the first Professor in Dental Surgery in 1943 and later the Dean. The first course in Dental Surgery within the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at the University started in 1933 with seven students. In 1943 the University started awarding the degree of Bachelor of Dental Surgery (B.Ch.D.) and a Faculty of Dental Surgery was established in 1954.
Most of the teachers in the Department of Dental Surgery have carried out post-graduate studies in the UK and the US and recently a number of graduates have obtained Masterships or Doctorates of the University of Malta. The Faculty presently accepts six EU and two non-EU students per year, catering for some 40 students. Teaching in the first two years is conducted chiefly by the Departments of Anatomy and of Physiology and Biochemistry, students being introduced to Clinical Dentistry in the second semester of the second year. The duration of the course is five years, culminating in the Final Examination leading to the award of a Bachelor's Degree in Dental Surgery (B.Ch.D.).
- Camilleri George E. John Eskdale Fishburn. First Graduate Dentist of the University of Malta. Malta Medical Journal 16 (4):48-51, 2004.
- Cassar Paul. Dentistry. In: Medical History of Malta, London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library, 1964, p. 513-518.
- Cassar Paul. A Trilogy in the History of Maltese Dentistry. The St. Luke's Hospital Gazette VI (2):116-125, 1987.
- Fiorini Joseph. The History of Maltese Dentistry. Malta: Muscat Giov. 1953.
- Portelli John M. The Pioneers. Malta: Malta University Press. 1987.
- Savona-Ventura Charles. Outlines of Maltese Medical History, Malta: Midsea Books Ltd, 1997. pp 106-7.
19 May 2013