This is a really interesting article that I will dissect in my next couple blogs:
In the first part of the article they offer an historical evaluation how dentistry and medicine got separated. There is some truth to it, but they don’t address why it’s this way in practically every country.
The gist of it is that in our first 2 years we take many of the same classes, taught by the same instructors in the same schools as medical students. We are also learning dental anatomy and theory. We have both laboratory and didactic treatment classes. This article has many references from the early 20th century. Dentistry has since offered 20 times more treatment options and they are immeasurably more complicated then what was offered back then. The amount of time required to become proficient in these skills is very significant.
An argument could be made that we must first need to graduate medical school and then learn technical dentistry in a residency program. This is kind of consistent with other evolutions in dentistry. My father and I both graduated from Temple’s Dental School. My dad received a Doctoral of Dental Surgery, but they changed the degree to that of Doctor of Dental Medicine, to acknowledge the important connection between oral and systemic health and that we need to be more concerned about the medicines and treatments our patients are receiving. Basically accepting that we are doctors working in the mouth rather than tooth mechanics.
One of the biggest problems I see with making dentists go through med school and then a dental residency is access to care. If you were to add 2 more years onto the education process, those costs would not just get absorbed, but would have to be reflected in the ultimate cost of dental care, further distancing the access of care to millions, as referenced in the article.
Also, the article fails to acknowledge that most countries have different school for medicine and dentistry.
I will go into more detail in my next post.