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Welcome to Brazil

August 27, 2012

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Our first few days in Brazil have been enchanting as one of the Bauru professors might say. We were welcomed with warm smiles and kisses on the cheek from each student and faculty we met, along with delicious Brazilian espresso. The University of Sao Paulo (USP) Bauru School of Dentistry (FOB) is situated on a beautiful campus about 4 hours outside of Sao Paulo in the city of Bauru. It is the largest and most distinguished dental school of USP. FOB USP is a 4 year program with 200 undergraduate students. The dental school actually has more masters and PhD students than undergraduates, and graduates 50% of dental professors in Brazil.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Dean Prof. Dr. Jose Carlos Pereira and Prof. Dr. Carlos Ferreira dos Santos to discuss dental care and education at FOB USP and around the country. Dental education is free at FOB USP and other public dental schools in Brazil. The students receive assistance with room and board, as well as generous research scholarships. Dental care at FOB USP and other public dental clinics is free for Brazilian citizens. Patients pay affordable lab fees to cover the cost of materials for some procedures. Dental care is part of the national health care system in Brazil and citizens carry an insurance card with their information. The state of Sao Paulo has 7 dental schools, including FOB USP, and has the highest number of registered dentists compared to other states in Brazil. The government has set up public dental clinics in more isolated areas of Brazil where access to dental care is limited, and offers incentives to encourage new dentists to practice in these clinics.

In the clinics third and fourth year students see patients much like third and fourth year dental students at UM SOD. FOB USB students perform surgical procedures, such as implant and tissue graft procedures, with the help of residents. Undergraduate students have more opportunities to perform complex procedures at FOB USP because of the affordable cost of treatment. The clinics are moving towards an integrated system similar to VICs (our Vertically Integrated Clinics), with procedures under different disciplines being performed in one clinic. Students attend lectures similar to ours, however they are often 2 hours long without a break!

FOB USP has excellent research facilities. We had a chance to see some of the labs and hear about projects that undergraduate and graduate students are working on. Prof. Dr. Carlos dos Reis Pereira de Araujo and graduate students have made some novel discoveries while studying the effects of crown margin on biological width during the osseointegration of implants. Prof. Dr. Lucimara Teixeira das Neves and third year Giovana Weckwerth are studying the incidence of dental anomalies and genetic mutations in the cleft lip and palate population in Brazil and Latin America.

Although Pri, Dr. Kelly, and I did not know any Portuguese before traveling to Brazil, the students have been more than willing to teach us some of their beautiful language. The people, food, and culture have been wonderful!

Lauren Ehardt is a D3 who wishes she spoke Portuguese!

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