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Are U.S. Dentists Adequately Trained to Care for Children?

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For decades, dental educators have noted changes in predoctoral dental education in pediatric dentistry, beginning with shifts in patients' characteristics and their availability for dental schools. During the same period, national data exposed a lingering dental caries epidemic in U.S. children yet reported more treatment of young poor children. The professional literature suggests a reluctance of the general dental community to care for children, particularly the very young who would most benefit from a dental home. The purpose of this commentary was to weigh evidence of several decades of studies on this seeming contradiction and provide the perspectives of dental students in training, those seeking advanced pediatric dentistry education or providing it, and end-users of our educational system who employ U.S. dental graduates to care for children. The usefulness of dental education establishment indicators is also reviewed, and recommendations for improvement are proposed.
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Keywords: DENTAL ACCREDITATION; DENTAL EDUCATION; PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: Professor emeritus of Pediatric Dentistry, College of Dentistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; and chief policy officer, Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Chicago, Ill., USA;, Email: [email protected] 2: Editor-in-Chief of the AAPD and a clinical professor, School of Dentistry, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Md., USA 3: Undergraduate student, at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., USA 4: Chief executive officer, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Chicago, Ill., USA

Publication date: March 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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