Dentistry- A Multifaceted Domain
Practice of dentistry is unique in the sense that it is equally an art and a science. Being a science, it is intricately related to various other scientific disciplines in scientific construct of its theory, as well as theoretical basis of its concepts and practice. However, having an aesthetic as well as an interpersonal touch makes its practice distinct from other healthcare as well as non-healthcare fields. This multifaceted nature of dental practice makes it a very specialized domain. Its specialization is further enhanced by the fact that the area of work of a dentist is highly complex as well as visible.
Practice Of Dentistry
Dental practice is a highly satisfying and rewarding field. At the same time, it demands hard work and precision too. Dental practice demands development of a person, not only in clinical skills, but in various other skills also. Being a healthcare science, dentistry demands impeccable interpersonal skills, which include sensitivity towards the patient, empathy, communication skills as well as social skills.
Dentistry is practiced both at a clinical set-up as well as hospital set-up. The clinical set-up may involve an individual or a group practice. In both the cases, it involves working with and managing people. Private dental practices are also small enterprises which involve inventory, human resource and business management. Therefore, a practicing dentist has to develop various parts of personality and learn many skills.
A dental clinic usually includes the dentist himself/ herself and also other staff such as receptionist, chair side assistant, lab assistant etc. Therefore, it normally involves teamwork, where various employees, the dentist and the patient all work in tandem to provide the best quality healthcare to the patient. An eye on quality and safety is one of the key parts of a successful dental practice.
Clinical dental work can be divided into various specialties. A general dental practice caters for all the specialty treatments in dentistry while it refers to a specialist practice for advanced disease management. Specialties in dentistry are Oral and maxillofacial surgery, Oral Medicine and Radiology, Conservative dentistry and Endodontics, Orthodontics and Dentofacial orthopedics, Pedodontics, Periodontology, Prosthodontics and Crown and Bridge, Oral Pathology, and Public Health Dentistry. These specialties may be referred to by the general dentist in case of advanced dental disease.
A Multidisciplinary Approach
General as well as specialized dental practice is intricately related to medical practice since oral structures are a continuum and reflect the health of other parts of the body. Management of various oral diseases like oral cancer requires teamwork of various disciplines of dentistry and medical science.
Dentistry is a young and dynamic field which is growing at a quick pace, and absorbing innovations and discoveries to its advantage. Various dental materials and new technologies are coming up fast. Development of these technologies involves co-working among dentists and non-medical professionals towards providing best dental healthcare to the patients.
Uniqueness of dentistry lies in vividness of its practice as well as the dynamism of processes entailed in imparting best care to the patient. Practice of dentistry implies imbibitions from various knowledge and skill sources into an integrated field aimed at improving the health and quality of life of the entire human race.
Written by :- Dr. Ankur Sharma Department of Public Health Dentistry.