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Research and Discovery Science and the Future of Dental Education and Practice.

J Dent Educ; 81(9): eS97-eS107, 2017 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28864810

Abstract

Dental graduates of 2040 will face new and complex challenges. If they are to meet these challenges, dental schools must develop a research and discovery mission that will equip graduates with the new knowledge required to function in a modern health care environment. The dental practitioner of 2040 will place greater emphasis on risk assessment, disease prevention, and health maintenance; and the emerging discipline of precision medicine and systems biology will revolutionize disease diagnosis and reveal new targeted therapies. The dental graduate of 2040 will be expected to function effectively in a collaborative, learning health care system and to understand the impact of health care policy on local, national, and global communities. Emerging scientific fields such as big data analytics, stem cell biology, tissue engineering, and advanced biomimetics will impact dental practice. Despite all the warning signs indicating how the changing scientific and heath care landscape will dramatically alter dental education and dental practice, dental schools have yet to reconsider their research and educational priorities and clinical practice objectives. Until dental schools and the practicing community come to grips with these challenges, this persistent attitude of complacency will likely be at the dental profession's peril. This article was written as part of the project "Advancing Dental Education in the 21 Century."