Dentistry and medicine used to be studied and viewed as the same profession until the first dental school was founded in 1840. Since then, dentistry and medicine have gradually drifted apart so much that even dental insurance and health insurance are obtained separately.
So much has been said about the devastating impacts of this separation and the need to marry dental medicine with general medicine.
Dental medicine, which was initially all about extracting decayed teeth and plugging cavities, has remarkably grown into a full-blown science, applying some of the most sophisticated techniques science has ever seen for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Dentistry and medicine are more connected than we think
Dentists today do not see any need to know about overall health, while doctors also do not interfere in oral health. However, the challenge with this is that there are several health challenges that impact both overall health and oral health.
For instance, periodontal disease, also called gum disease, has been linked to the development of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Dentists will often be able to treat the gum challenge but usually have no clue on what to do regarding other symptoms like high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders.
Also, pregnant women diagnosed with periodontitis tend to develop pre-eclampsia, a potentially serious pregnancy complication that may lead to the delivery of low-birth-weight babies.
Additionally, when people go for medical checkups, their physicians do everything except check their oral health. This often causes people to overlook their dental health until a situation arises.
Merging general and dental medicine is an essential goal that can help people gain access to wholesome health care.
Bridging the gap
There’s a need to bridge the gap between doctors and dentists to help improve the quality of healthcare and boost people’s chances of living healthy. One effective way to break down the wall between dentistry and medicine is by educating overall health physicians on dental science.
Doctors can get online training on dentistry, including an expert dental implant training at Implant Success Today or other institutes. This will educate them about the oral world and help them provide complete health care for patients suffering from oral and overall health issues.
Secondly, the teaching curriculum for upcoming doctors can be adjusted to allow some exposure to oral anatomy. The doctors should be able to perform a basic clinical oral examination in order to detect undiagnosed conditions that may potentially affect general health and well-being. Typical examples of such conditions include tooth decay, gum disease, and pre-cancerous lesions.
Also, dentists should have a deeper knowledge of general anatomy and physiology as it will greatly help them detect any oral health issue that affects other body parts.
Finally, physicians and dentists should see the mouth and body as two related parts of a system and not treat them as though they are independent. Many overall health complications sometimes start by showing certain signs in the mouth, so being able to inspect the body as a whole–including the mouth–can give more people greater chances of living healthier and happier.
Tiffany is a Medical Student and also works as a fitness coach in part-time. She is also a writer and writes on health and fitness articles. Tiffany loves to engage with users and help them provide various useful information on General Health. She provides researched-based information and also featured on various blogs and magazines.