A Survey of Oral Medicine Curriculum and Practice in India
Background: Oral Medicine specialists provide clinical care to patients with a wide variety of chronic diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial region, oral manifestations of systemic diseases and behavioral disorders and provide general dental care to patients with medically compromised states. It is important to conduct studies that address the strengths and shortcomings of our specialty and the current system of its education and practice in order to yield highly skilled professionals and truly serve the oral health care needs of the public.
Aim & Method: This study aims to describe the current status of Oral Medicine curriculum and practice in India. A survey was designed to assess the current status of oral medicine education and clinical practice. The survey was sent to Oral Medicine Specialists across India to assess their opinion and analyze the benefits and shortcomings of the present system.
Results: 52 respondents completed the survey from various states across India. More than 87% of respondents considered management of oral mucosal diseases, salivary dysfunction, oral manifestations of dermatological diseases, HIV, oral manifestations of systemic disease and facial pain as part of Oral Medicine. Only 27% of respondents reported participating in multidisciplinary clinics for treatment of patients, and 85% of respondents agreed to the need for presence of multidisciplinary clinics. 85% of respondents agreed to the suggestion of developing a curriculum for training in Special Care Dentistry for Oral Medicine postgraduates in India.
Conclusion: Limitations to this survey study include a small sample size. Future efforts at defining the scope of oral medicine practice in India and improvements in training and education can help model future graduates and inspire undergraduates to choose Oral Medicine as a career.
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