Dentist is the first person who can diagnose diabetes in a patient
By Dr. Saurabh Lall
New Delhi: Dental Surgery is a specialized branch of medicine that deals with the oro-facial region of the body. People are unfortunately ignorant of the scope & domain of dentistry. One may find it interesting to know that dental surgeons deal with the face: below the brain & above the neck in-toto (except the ENT); be it disorders of the nerves, muscles, blood vessels, bones, tongue, cheeks, palate, antrum, chin, jaws & the teeth.
Dental specialists perform precise procedures under general & local anaesthesia such as Maxillofacial Surgeries, Orthognathic Surgeries, Palatal Arch Expansions, treatment of Cancers of the oro-facial region, Cleft lip & palate restorations, Uvulo-palatoplasty (for snoring), fracture management (mandible & facial skeleton), prosthetic replacements (eyes, nose, ears & at times fingers lost due to trauma or disease), biopsies, management of neuralgias/sensory disorders of the face, treatment of paralysis, infections, cysts & tumours of the oro-facial region and the list is endless.
You may be surprised to know that the first person who can diagnose diabetes in a patient is the dentist...by smelling the mouth (which gives off an acetone breath). The mouth is supposed to be the window of the body. Similarly, many such indications related to diseases of the Stomach, Kidney, Heart, Blood, Bones, Thyroid etc. that appear to the dentist are unknown to laymen.
Dentistry as a Career
Even though there are over 250 dental schools across India, a recent survey shows that the country is grossly short of dental professionals. Evidence-based dentistry is the norm of the day that has led to technological advances in diagnosis & treatment procedures. With patients’ desire to ‘look good’, dentistry has become even more popular. Creativity has shown up in the form of Dental Spas & Dental Studios that work on aesthetics & beautification of teeth & facial structures. Cosmetic Dentistry has become a fore-runner in today’s dental service. Procedures like Tooth-Whitening, Tooth-alignment & Smile-designing are on the go. Surgical correction of defects of the chin, nose, and lips also fall into the capacity of a Cosmetic Dentist. Apart from these, modern day dentistry is complemented with LASERs, Implants, flexible dentures etc.
The spotlight of the industry is on the ‘Stem Cell’ researches being carried out worldwide, by virtue of which a dentist would be able to naturally grow a new tooth for a patient who has lost one.
To become a dentist, one must possess at least 50% marks in 10+2 examinations before taking the entrance test. BACHELOR OF DENTAL SURGERY (BDS) is awarded to a candidate who has undergone sound training extended over a period of 5 years at a Dental College recognized by the Dental Council of India.
After successfully graduating, a dentist can either start a dental practice/consultation or may opt for Post Graduation i.e. MASTERS IN DENTAL SURGERY (MDS). There are 9 specialties offered by dental schools in India. Post Graduates who may have an academic inclination can become faculty members at Dental Colleges across the country. Other options lie in the Army Dental Corps, Government Dental Centres, Private & Corporate Hospitals etc.
Apart from these, a number of diploma courses in the fields of Cosmetic Dentistry, Implantology & Endodontics etc. are being offered by universities like IGNOU.
Alternate Careers after completing BDS
1. Masters in Business Applications (MBA): For Administrative Posts.
2. Hospital Administration (PGDHA, DHA)
3. Clinical Research
4. Law (LLB): For Medico legal Cases & Consumer Protection Act advisory.
5. Computer Applications: For research in Softwares for Dental Records & Practice Management.
A drawback on the international front is that many countries do not recognize Indian degrees & vice-versa, hence one needs to undergo a country-specific training to satisfy international norms (E.g. DDS for USA). However, many dental schools offer exchange programmes with foreign universities which eases out access to students.
About the Author
Dr. Saurabh Lall (BDS, C.Aesth.Dent., MDS) is a Clinical Analyst & Dental Specialist at Clove. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (London, UK) & the Pierre Fauchard Academy (USA). Dr Lall lectures on topics in dentistry at various national & international forums. Dr Lall is a recognized researcher in the field of dentistry & is listed in Thompson Reuters (USA), Sci-Verse Scopus (Netherlands) & Google Scholar databases. He has been conferred with many awards.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]