|Year : 2018 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 1-2
Indian dentistry: Today and tomorrow
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of International Clinical Dental Research Organization, Department of Orthodontics, Dr. D. Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India
|Date of Web Publication||6-Jul-2018|
Dr. Sonali Deshmukh
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of International Clinical Dental Research Organization, Department of Orthodontics, Dr. D. Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Deshmukh S. Indian dentistry: Today and tomorrow. J Int Clin Dent Res Organ 2018;10:1-2
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking”.
– Albert Einstein.
India is emerging as a young intelligent country with youth population of 65% below 35 years of age. These demographics of population will have a great impact on global economics as well as Indian economics. Apart from other professions which will have an impact on economics, medical and dental professions have a major role to play in terms of Indian economy. In 2004, the dentist population in India was 1:30,000 according to World Health Statistics. In 2014, the ratio was 1:10,000. Thus, these statistical ratio suggests that there is still not enough number of dentists in India.
Hence, when we look at the dental profession and statistics in India, it can be safely said that dentistry is rapidly becoming competitive. What is the answer to this rapidly growing competiveness and to produce well-rounded and confidant dentist?
The dilemma of this question lies in two factors: unequal distribution among urban and rural India and our education system. Our education system basically revolves around more of theoretical aspect in undergraduate schools and less of practical base training. The demand and supply issue is beyond the scope of this article, thus will focus on the other issue which is sparsely discussed, which is education system!
The problem of dental education starts with the admission. Most of the dental students opt for dentistry as a second choice because they do not get through MBBS course through common entrance test for MBBS, BDS, and other paramedical branches. Thus, most if not all, BDS admissions are not by choice and this leads to lack of interest in the dental practice.
The solution for this problem is separate entrance for BDS as only those genuinely interested students with good dental acumen and aptitude will get selected and not as a second choice. Another factor in Indian dental education system is more of a theoretical approach. Practical training in some dental schools where patient flow is good is excellent, especially in government dental collages, but in the institutes where the patient flow is less, the student do not develop the confidence in treating patients. The problem base learning and teaching along with advance technology will give an overall perspective to dental students to handle a patient in private practice.
The National Academy of Sciences, USA, has identified and enlisted the issues with curriculum such as basic science concepts weakly connected to clinical education and experience, curriculum not sufficiently at par with the current dental sciences and practice, implementation of comprehensive patient care as a model of clinical education, and the most important one in which dental curriculum being overcrowded does not allow for the development of critical and logical thinking. For example, most of the undergraduate students lose interest in the subject of orthodontics as they are never taught about treatment planning or interception of malocclusion at BDS level, though taught theoretically as a part of curriculum. In practical training, more importance is given to wire bending, which probably these students will never do in their lifetime. The concept of prevention, interception, and correction should be taught theoretically as well as demonstrated practically so as to improve the critical thinking by involving them in group discussion and chairside patient observation and discussions.
The same is true in all the other fields of dentistry. The overall treatment planning should be taught for a patient as a whole rather than one subject at a time. Another most important curriculum change needed in dentistry so as to reduce the attrition of students not opting for dentistry as a first option is to teach or make them aware of dental practice economics.
Dental practice economics is a different ball game and most of the dental students and faculty feel that they have nothing to do with the management or economics of dental practice. However, it is the duty of higher body or teachers to make them aware of the importance of practice management for their successful transition from students to professionals.
Dentistry as a whole is not just a knowledge of dentistry or treating patients, but the complete array of subjects related to dental practice management which I strongly feel should be a part of curriculum. Dental practice management involves human resource, finance, taxation, inventory management, medicolegal knowledge, and other related management topics such as ethical internal and external marketing. The onus of producing a wholesome dental practitioner at the end of 4 + 1 years lies completely on our teaching institution and we as teaching faculty.
Last but not the least is the issue of research. The undergraduate students in most of the dental schools are not exposed to the methods and methodology of research. Thus, a potential researcher is lost at young age even if that student has acumen of research. Also, it is thought that research is only postgraduate purview and it has nothing to do with undergraduate curriculum. Furthermore, the unavailability of infrastructure, funding, and financial constraints in the field of research makes it all the more difficult to pursue.
Thus, to help these young graduates and upcoming professionals, we as an emerging nation have adequate infrastructure, we know all the possible solutions for their well-being and upliftment, and all the answers to change the overall outlook. What we need is a complete makeover of dental education, curriculum, and admission process to produce outstanding dentists or dental specialists who will be assets to the profession and country.
“I alone cannot change the world, but can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples”.
– Mother Teresa.
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