|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 93-94
Can we make the practice of Periodontology attractive?
Editor, Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology,Professor, Department of Periodontics,Dental College, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Lamphelpat, Imphal-795004,Manipur, India
|Date of Web Publication||2-Mar-2020|
Editor, Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology,Professor, Department of Periodontics,Dental College, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Lamphelpat, Imphal-795004, Manipur
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Kumar A. Can we make the practice of Periodontology attractive?. J Indian Soc Periodontol 2020;24:93-4
Periodontium is the most important tissue to be preserved for the successful practice of dentistry. Despite the stated importance of periodontium with practice of dentistry, and high prevalence of periodontal diseases, still the interest of general dentist is not as much evident in the practice of Periodontology as is in the practice of Restorative/Prosthetic dentistry or Orthodontics and their newly found love for Dental Implantology. Even the students in the III/IV year BDS and internship do not show as much interest in periodontal clinical postings as they show in other above mentioned departments.
If Periodontology and periodontists have to flourish, it will only be possible if we can make the subject of Periodontology academically interesting from a undergraduate (U.G.) student point of view and subsequently demonstrate that practice of Periodontology is financially viable and rewarding.
My stress on making our subject interesting at U.G. level makes sense in many ways. First of all, the major percentage of practitioners of dentistry are graduates or BDS. So the maximum number of cases are seen and treated by them. They are the point of first contact with the patients. It is them who should be able to diagnose and subsequently inform and convince the patients for treatment. It is them who will have to provide basic/initial periodontal therapy to the patient as they walk into their clinics. It is them who should know and identify cases which might require periodontist's involvement. It is them who should know what is the “right time” for involving a periodontist in managing cases which are beyond their brief.
Another aspect is, choosing Periodontology as the branch of choice for post-graduation. It is the graduates who appear for entrance examination and should have our branch as “subject of choice” in their minds.
Both the above aspects will lead to our branch and the periodontists flourishing practically as well as academically.
When I say academically interesting at the U.G. level, I mean that the students in III/IV and internship should find the subject theoretically and practically interesting to study and learn. What we make the students do at U.G level, and what interests them, makes them practice in future. It is quite possible that 'manual scaling” which is the only thing which most of them are made to do, does not create interest in further practice of Periodontology.
“Manual scaling only” in one month posting with a pressure of taking a long case history and subsequent viva-voce, is quite monotonous. We should expose them to variety of cases (mild to severe), include them in discussions, show them what to examine and why, the important findings and how to arrive at a diagnosis. We should then discuss the treatment modalities in detail which will showcase what all can be done in periodontics beyond scaling. May be we can make them perform simpler surgical procedures and also demonstrate the complex surgical procedures to widen their outlook of periodontal treatment modalities. We should at this stage expose them to the financial aspects of periodontal practice and its earning potential considering the high prevalence of periodontal diseases in the society. We also have a social responsibility towards our society to provided better periodontal care.
We need to concentrate equally on undergraduate teaching as we do on postgraduate teaching. May be senior faculty members taking classes more frequently and participating in discussion with the U.G. students during their clinical postings might have encouraging results. Allowing students in internship to comprehensively manage the case individually under supervision may be one of the ways that can be implemented. Comprehensive management means that the intern will treat the case which would include treatment modalities of all departments as per the requirement of the patient.
We need to have a fresh look at what students are made to learn and practice in their clinical postings. May be some “out-of box” thinking will help.
Once an interest is generated at this level, it will have its own consequences later. If the student goes on to practice, he/she will have an eye on periodontal patients and as they involve orthodontist or a restorative dentist in their practice, they would also involve periodontist with same enthusiasm. This will lead to a lot of work and revenue been generated for general dentist as well as periodontists in private practice.
The fact that periodontal practice can generate revenue would make any one sit up and take notice. This will also lead to their interest in choosing Periodontology as the branch of choice for post-graduation. More people opting to for Periodontology for post-graduation, will raise the stakes of our fellow periodontists who are in academics. Teaching will also be attractive option as a profession for periodontists.
All this will be possible, if we can modify and reshape the thought process in the bud stage (during BDS) itself. Let's concentrate on innovative teaching methods at undergraduate level.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and he'll eat forever.”
– Chinese Proverb