|Year : 2012 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 1-2
Research in dentistry: Need of the hour
BV Ramana Reddy
Prof. and Head, Department of Oral Pathology, SIBAR Institute of Dental Sciences, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India
|Date of Web Publication||10-Sep-2012|
B V Ramana Reddy
Prof. and Head, Department of Oral Pathology, SIBAR Institute of Dental Sciences, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Ramana Reddy B V. Research in dentistry: Need of the hour. J Orofac Sci 2012;4:1-2
Dentistry is often thought of, in terms of professional practice, by most of the individuals. But as practitioners of such a noble profession, we know it as a science that depends on researchers who develop new and better dental technologies and which brings those technologies to the general public.
We have noticed an exponential increase in the population of the country since the past few decades. Similarly, there has been an unjustifiable increase in the number of colleges providing the courses of dentistry and its allied sciences. Likewise, there has also been an increase in the number of students who are in pursuit of dentistry. This is keeping pace with the increased knowledge and the growing awareness about the dental needs in the masses.
Cell and tissue, shell and bone, leaf and flower, are so many portions of matter… They are no exceptions to the rule that, 'God always geometrizes'-D'Arcy Thompson. Similarly, many of our ancestors, as great researchers, have done a herculean task of upbringing the quality of life in its various walks, by way of research. Research attempts to solve a problem by gathering new data from primary or first-hand sources or by using existing data for a new purpose.
Since the inception of the first Dental College in India in the year 1920, by Dr. R. Ahmed, the field of Dentistry in India, has improved at a galloping pace. The current status of dental education in India has some serious challenges that will need to be modified to be able to produce leaders in the field of dentistry to address these burgeoning needs.
Dental students in India are trained to excel theoretically, but there seems to be a disconnect between what is learned and what is applied in the clinics. In the real world, when dealing with patients, problem-solving skills and practical knowledge are necessary. Some of the changes that might bring dental education to the next level in India could include selecting highly motivated students for dentistry, modifying the teaching methodology with some importance given to treatment planning, and introducing research into the curriculum. Changing the current attitude of the faculty, students, and the general population toward dental education is another important factor in the successful transformation.
True to the words said by R. Virchow (1858), 'If we would serve Science, we must extend her limits, not only as far as our own knowledge is concerned, but in the estimation of others'. Research should be future oriented and designed to benefit learners rather than the researchers themselves.
The dental faculties play a huge role in shaping the future of dental education in India. While most faculty members have completed a master's program concurrent with residency training in a dental specialty, most of them lack intense research training or a Ph.D.
As far as my knowledge goes, most dental schools in India do not have formal tenure-track positions, which typically mandate that faculty members conduct research, publish in peer-reviewed journals, and obtain grants. Consequently, most faculty members in India do not pursue research, nor do they encourage their students to pursue research. This trend has to be changed, for the upliftment of the dental fraternity, as a whole.
Research in dentistry has predominantly been quantitative in nature, fuelled latterly by the drive toward evidence-based dentistry. Randomized control trials (RCTs), cross-sectional studies and questionnaire-based surveys are the most common research approaches used. But a qualitative approach is the need of the day, apart from the quantitative research.
Most of the dental colleges in India are offering Post graduation programs. Currently, the only form of research done in most of the dental institutions in India is the thesis work done by a postgraduate, that too only to fulfill his/her academia program as per the regulations by Dental Council of India. But, this trend has to be changed and a more systematic approach toward research is essential at the institutional level.
The managements of colleges, the governing Universities and also the Dental Council of India will have to collectively take the necessary steps, so that the dental students inherently develop such skills and orientation toward research.
Apart from this, experts from the field of Medicine and other technical experts also should be instituted into the regular dental curriculum, so as to standardize the research works.