Improving the Medical Curriculum in Predoctoral Dental Education

What is it?

A discussion on how dental students can be educated and trained to better serve the needs of medically complex patients.

What problem does it aim to solve?

More than 50% of older adults have at least three chronic conditions. While dentists obviously focus on oral health and do not treat conditions outside the scope of dental practice, they will still need to have knowledge of systemic disease in order to be able to assess the risks of dental treatment. However, dental school curricula are already jam-packed with coursework. Ensuring adequate biomedical education without crowding out another requirement is crucial.

How does it work?

The authors propose some changes to dental student education and training: 1) adopt a systems- and case-based approach in which biomedical topics are introduced as part of clinical experience. 2) adding a requirement that dental graduates complete one year of postgraduate training before taking the licensure examination.

What are the real-world implications?

New dentists will be better prepared to take on the challenges they face, and patients with complex medical statuses will be assured of high-quality care.

What are the next steps?

Ideally, organizations in the dental field will collaborate with educators and board examiners to revise the educational and examination standards.

Source

“Improving the Medical Curriculum in Predoctoral Dental Education: Recommendations From the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Committee on Predoctoral Education and Training”, Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Volume 75, Issue 2, February 2017, Pages 240–244 

Authors

Matthew J. Dennis, DDS, Clinical Professor, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Florida College of Dentistry, Gainesville, FL
Jeffrey D. Bennett, DMD, Professor, Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, VA Medical Center, Indianapolis, IN
Dean M. DeLuke, DDS, MBA, Associate Professor and Director of Predoctoral Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Program, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth
Erik W. Evans, DDS, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
John W. Hudson, DDS, Professor, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Tennessee
Anders Nattestad, DDS, PhD, Professor, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, San Francisco, CA
Gregory M. Ness, DDS, Professor, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Anesthesiology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Allison Yeung, DDS, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Surgical Sciences, East Carolina University School of Dentistry, Greenville, NC