Introspecting & Reinventing Dentistry
At the outset, it would be imperative to echo the views of the dental health care professionals that Dentistry today is standing at crossroads. With the scenario of poor awareness levels in the society about good oral health care, the important determinant of utilization of dental health care services stands at a very low number in various parts of India. Only those who suffer because of any dental problem visits a dentist, thereby reaching at a point to the dentist when the whole journey of the disease process occurring in the teeth has traversed its path and the only option left with dentist is only curative treatment. Whereas from the times when Medicine and its extension the field of Dentistry has been listed in historical records, Prevention has been listed as societal norm in comparison to Cure.
Major part of this culture being exercised in view of Dentistry today, is due to lack of awareness to good oral health care. If we look at our course curriculum being taught in the field of Dentistry, it is indeed a comprehensive one with all the in-depth theoretical & clinical skill aspects covered but may be the methods used to teach these require some introspection and re-adaptation. With the increasing oral health care needs of population which is influenced to a greater extent by lifestyle and behavioral changes in our society, may be its time that our teaching methods fall in line with the learning outcomes expected from our students in dental education. To stand out and do justice to the whole process of making a professional dental surgeon it becomes imperative that all aspects required to be learnt today, in the areas of knowledge, attitude and psychomotor skills be incorporated in our teaching methods.
The youth of today stands out in its own because of the challenges faced, when living in the society where he is born today. Challenges to succeed, road-blocks to achieve goals, aspirations and ambitions to innovate have all led to a fast growing need of an open mind and stand-out approach by students so as gain the best of knowledge with an eye to plan for future in the respective field. As rightly echoed by many global leaders, India holds the edge in growing, in the fastest possible manner in the future, our youth have the potential to achieve the goals and objectives set in the field of Dentistry too.
Dentistry in itself being a speciality branch of Patient Care has since its inception been driven by the oral health needs of the people. But with developments globally and because of the pioneering works of scientists in dentistry, today we stand at a platform where super-specialization branches originated from the broad spectrum of General Dentistry are trying to make its place in the society. But the biggest lacuna remains the lack of awareness about various possibilities which these branches offer as dental treatments.
Dentist: Patient ratio is one determinant which we dental health care professionals often talk about, as a parameter to assess the state of good oral health care which is possible in a society living in a particular area. This determinant needs to be stratified further and looked into, if we want the true potential of this high precision care to be provided to patients and also utilized by the society.
Time has definitely come where if we dental health professionals don’t realize the basis aspect of increasing dental awareness in the society; we will come to level where the school passing out students of our country will not foresee this exclusive field of Dentistry as a Career option. The need of the hour is that we dental curriculum teachers & existing dental practitioners re-invent ourselves in the area of increasing dental awareness in the society.
The approach laid down for the future of dentistry, guided by the immense experience and excellence of already existing pioneers of dental care can take out the existing dental care scenario much beyond the road blocks it is facing today and also usher us into an era where probably dental care in India could be recognized on the global platform both for dental patient care and dental education of pure innovation & academic fervor.
Dr. Shourya Tandon
Public Health Dentistry
Faculty of Dental Sciences
SGT University, Gurugram