Original Publication
Open Access

Dentistry Case: Down Syndrome (Thomas) (Out of Print)

Published: August 18, 2009 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.5107

Included in this publication:

  • Web Instructions.mov
  • Web Link Access_5107.pdf

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications. This publication is out of print as it contains expired content and/or no longer aligns with MedEdPORTAL policies.


Introduction: Researchers at the University of Michigan School Of Dentistry, along with genetics leaders from across the country, collaborated in designing the Genetics Education in Dentistry Case Simulator to integrate genetics into existing dental/dental hygiene curricula. The program uses a combination of evidence-based teaching materials and case-based learning strategies to teach the complex decision-making skills required to care for patients with genetic diseases impacting oral health. Methods: Tiffany is a 25-year-old female who grew up with small brown primary teeth and has permanent teeth with thin enamel prone to abscess and breakage. Through the assessment information and interview, students come to see that Tiffany has bulbous crowns, thin enamel, and missing pulp chambers. She also has retained root tips from an extraction and is currently in the office due to a sensitive and broken tooth. Her mother and several extended family members have a similar condition affecting their teeth. After reviewing the patient’s history and other information supplied in the case simulation, students work in small groups to develop a differential diagnosis and individualized treatment plan. The case includes video interviews, photos, radiographs, and other audiovisual media to increase the realism of the simulated experience. Results: This simulation has not been used with dental students yet but is scheduled to be implemented in winter 2009. Simulations like it have been used in a variety of settings: at the University of Michigan with first-year dental and dental hygiene students, as well as pedodontic residents; at the University of Detroit Mercy with dental students; and at the University of Washington with residents. We saw students working through the case in many different ways. Some worked together, looking at one computer with one person typing notes. Others worked on individual computers, and some divided the assignment into sections so that they could work on it asynchronously. Many students commented on liking the group work and the real-world situation. Seeing the patient interview brought things to life for the students and was for many their favorite part. Students also commented that the program helped bring information from multiple courses together and put it into action. Discussion: Sample assignments and training materials containing detailed instructions are available. Training should align closely to when an assignment is given to reduce the amount of time students have to forget how to use the program. If students are working in groups, instructors should track the students through the instructor’s tool kit to make sure they get logged into the correct groups.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this case simulation, learners will be able to:

  1. Work in groups or individually to analyze and record significant findings from assessment information provided in the simulation.
  2. Identify clinical problems pertaining to the patient.
  3. Interpret a pedigree chart and determine its significance.
  4. Demonstrate evidence-based decision making by searching the literature to refine their differential diagnosis.
  5. Cite literature sources.
  6. Create treatment objectives and write a case report.

Author Information

  • Amy Coplen, RDH, MS: Pacific University, School of Dental Health Science
  • Christine Klausner, RDH, MS: University of Michigan School of Dentistry
  • Michael Bleed, BS: University of Michigan School of Dentistry
  • Lynn Johnson, PhD: University of Michigan School of Dentistry

None to report.

None to report.

Prior Presentations
Johnson L, Hart T, Shuler C, Herrick E, Clancy M. Practical Strategies for Genetics Education in Dentistry [ADEA/IADR Joint Symposium]. J Dent Research. 2005;84(Special Issue A):9.

Zimmerman J, Walmsley D, Peet M, Johnson L. Purposeful Application of Technology and New Media for Net Gen Learners. Symposium presented at: Annual Session of the American Dental Education Association;  March 31, 2008; Dallas, TX.

The Future of Podcasting. Invited presentation at: Annual Session of the American Dental Education Association Technology Exposition; March 19, 2007; New Orleans, LA.

Applying Evidence-based Methods to Dental Patients with Genetic Conditions. Workshop presented at: Annual Session of the International Association of Dental Research Technology Support for Teaching Clinical Decision-Making.


Coplen A, Klausner C, Bleed M, Johnson L. Dentistry case: down syndrome (Thomas) (out of print). MedEdPORTAL. 2009;5:5107. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.5107

This publication is co-sponsored by the American Dental Education Association.