ICC – Dental Faculty

A girl working in the Language Lab


The vision of ICC at the Faculty of Dentistry is to build the capacity of the current and future Cambodian dentists by providing professional and supplemental trainings to the dentists and dental students and to help the Faculty of Dentistry network with dentists, specialists and organizations from other countries for its own development.

The History

The Faculty of Dentistry (also known as the Faculty of Odontostomatology) in Phnom Penh was set up in 1962 to meet the oral health needs of the Cambodian people. It was established within the compound of the Medical Faculty. By 1971 the Faculty of Dentistry became the Dental Center.

During the Pol Pot regime from 1975-1979 many of the dentists were killed. In 1979 only app. 30 assistant dentists survived the Pol Pot regime, and then they were given further training in Vietnam to prepare them to be dental lecturers and dentists. In 1984 the Faculty of Dentistry was reopened to provide training for students to graduate as assistant dentist (OSD). In 1987 the Doctor in Dental Surgery (DDS) program was introduced at the faculty. By 1993 the faculty no longer trains students for the OSD course; instead, it runs only the Doctor in Dental Surgery (DDS) program. From 1995 those with OSD qualifications are allowed to join in the DDS program from either 3rd or 4th year depending on their entrance exam result.

When Cambodia opened to foreign helps in 1991, World Concern came to help at the Faculty of Dentistry and at the provincial level in the area of Oral Health. World Concern helped to provide expatriate dental lecturers, dental materials and dental equipment in order to upgrade the facility and dental lecturing at the faculty. Along with this, an ESL Program was also established in 1994 in order to provide necessary English language skills to the staff and students at the faculty. With the establishment of International Cooperation Cambodia (ICC) in 1999, ICC continues to help at the faculty.

The Objectives

  • ICC's vision for the Dental faculty is to provide training to the local staff so as to further equip them in the area of management, dental knowledge and skills.
  • ICC also helps to network with other dentists, specialists and organizations to help at the dental faculty.
  • In addition, ICC helps to provide necessary English language skills to the staff and students so that they are able to do researches and further their studies relevant to dentistry and other fields as appropriate.

The Focus

Photo of Dental school library

Capacity-building is ICC’s main focus at the Faculty of Dentistry; therefore, we try to provide all the necessary knowledge and skills to the staff and students at the faculty from basic level to managerial level. Simply, ICC's activities at the faculty can be categorized into four main areas: Oral Health, ESL Program, Management Advising, and Library.

In line with the development and need of the country, the faculty now offers postgraduate diploma courses in the area of e.g. Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, Orthodontics, Endodontics and Public Health in collaboration with dental faculties from other countries. There are plans to offer postgraduate courses in e.g. Oral Surgery and Prosthodontics in the future. ICC is at present involved in the orthodontic department, with both the undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Two ICC dentists are working permanent at the faculty. Besides that a group of orthodontists from the U.K. are involved as guest lecturers on the postgraduate orthodontic course.

The main focus of the ESL Program is to equip the staff and students at the faculty with quality English language skills in order that they can upgrade their professional knowledge and skills, and it is also aimed to provide them supplemental knowledge relevant to their personal and professional development. Thus, to achievement these goals, the program offers two fundamental courses: the five-level General English Skills and the four-level Dental English Skills; in addition, Personal and Professional Development in English course is also offered to enrich the program. Along with this an English Language Lab was set up in 2001.

Since 2002 ICC has had a Management Advisor placed at the faculty. The advisor helps facilitating resources to the faculty e.g. funding, personnel and materials. Also the advisor helps building up networking abroad with e.g. universities/faculties, dentist societies, supporters and donors. The advisor facilitates capacity building of the faculty managers and faculty members.

The library is the heart of the faculty. It serves as the center of resources, and research and study. In addition to its existing textbooks, journals, videos/VCD’s the connection to the Internet provides more updated resources to the students for researching and for upgrading their professional knowledge and skills. Due to the lack of human resourcea and funda at the faculty, ICC has so far run and managed the overall operations of the library.

The Life Story

Ranny is beaming with from ear to ear and admiring herself at her own reflection in her clinical cubicle. She is now more confident talking to her friends. In the past whenever she talked to others she would cover her mouth with her hand as she was embarrassed because her front teeth were ‘sticking out’. What has brought about this positive change of attitude? Having undergone orthodontic treatment, her teeth are now nicely arranged. Having a beautiful smile gives her the confidence to talk with her friends.

This is one of the many examples how dental treatment can give confidence apart from relief of pain.