Newcastle Dental Student Takes Crowning Glory in UK wide Competition Final

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04 Mar 2019

Run by Britain’s oldest surgical Royal College, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) together with sponsors Dentsply Sirona, are happy to announce Newcastle University student David Cobbett as the national Dental Clinical Skills Competition winner. It is the second year running that a Newcastle University student has won the grand final following Joe Reid’s win in 2018. RCSEd President, Professor Mike Griffin was absolutely delighted that for the last two years, the winners of the Dental Clinical Skills Competition has come from Newcastle where he was Professor of Surgery.

Now in its fifth year, David won the competition after a gruelling series of tests designed to push all 18 finalist's skills to the extreme. 

Following his win at the Grand Final, held at the prestigious College on 28 February 2019, David said:

“I wasn’t expecting it, I didn’t think I’d done well. It was a great opportunity to practice practical skills we don’t often get to experience. I am very interested in learning more advanced aspects of dentistry after I graduate and so I hope that courses provided by the College could help me with that.

With aim to discover the nation’s best undergraduate dentist, heats took place in 18 UK and Irish dental schools. During these heats, final year dental students had the opportunity to showcase their clinical dental skills, demonstrating how to prepare a maxillary canine tooth to receive a porcelain fused-to-metal crown.  The best student from each heat was awarded a regional heat trophy and the opportunity to travel to Edinburgh and compete in the one of its kind Grand Final event. RCSEd hopes the competition will complement the basic dental skills delivered at the undergraduate level in the UK and Ireland, and help develop self-improvement in post-graduation dentistry.

Every participant in the competition heats and Grand Final has received two year’s free affiliation with RCSEd, offering access to resources, courses and support in their career development.

Explaining more about the competition, Dean of RCSEd’s Faculty of Dental Surgery, Professor Fraser McDonald said:

“This unique competition offers aspiring young dentists the opportunity to take on practical evaluation by a series of challenges not often seen in their normal environment. The prestigious setting of the Royal College offers a distinctive backdrop; welcoming the young students and encouraging information sharing and friendships forming that are likely to be lifelong.

College Council members and faculty attended in a supportive capacity. With such dedicated approach to mentoring and empowering the next generation of professionals, it ensures that they will be amongst best there is. Essential if we are to promote protection of the public and ultimately patient safety.” 

Michael Davidson, Clinical Lead at Dentsply Sirona, explained why their involvement is so important:

“The Dental Clinical Skills Competition gives Dentsply Sirona the opportunity to engage with final year dental students in a very positive way. Professional Development, Innovation and Oral Health improvement are central to what Dentsply Sirona do, and our relationship with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in this venture demonstrates our commitment in a very tangible way.”

The Grand Final of the competition was followed by a dinner in the 500-year-old Edinburgh College for all finalists at which presentations were made to the winner and two runners-up.  

In addition to Dentsply Sirona’s support and prize offering, David’s winning prize of an exclusive travel and accommodation package to the Chicago Dental Society Conference came courtesy of Mr Tom Beresneki, second place runner up has received an educational visit to the Dentsply Sirona endodontic facility in Switzerland and third place, a digital SLR camera.   

Second place was awarded to University of Liverpool student Aiden Yates and third place to University of Glasgow student Grant Rutherford. 

To see all of the action from this year’s Dental Skills Competition, visit or search on social media via #DentalSkillsComp


About The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

RCSEd was first incorporated as the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1505, and is the oldest surgical corporation in the world with memberships approaching 25,000 professionals in over 100 countries worldwide. The College promotes the highest standards of surgical and dental practice through its interest in education, training and examinations, its liaison with external medical bodies and representation of the modern surgical and dental workforce. It is also home to the UK’s only Faculty of Surgical Trainers, open to all those with an interest in surgical training regardless of College affiliation. Find RCSEd on Twitter and on Facebook

The College is based at Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DW and can be reached on (0)131 527 1600 or In March 2014, a new base opened in Birmingham, catering to the 80% of the College’s UK membership who are based in England and Wales.

For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Team on +447467 485145 or email 


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