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Going through changes

Professor Stephen Porter looks at the substantial challenges to clinical practice in dentistry over the past three decades

Many moons ago I graduated in dentistry, and since that time the training that I received from my dental school (Glasgow) has always been of great value, particularly understanding the principles of clinical areas outside my own speciality. Nevertheless, there have been substantial changes in clinical practice in dentistry and medicine over the past three decades, and it can be challenging to be able to provide effective and safe clinical care.

Opening our mind

There are many examples of change in dental health care provision, but some highlights include the knowledge that restorative (and paediatric) dentistry has been perhaps revolutionised by the availability of many effective plastic materials and the development of a wide range of implant systems. There is now a significant appreciation of the impact of systemic disease upon periodontal health, and a far wider availability of medical and/or surgical interventions to maintain the periodontal tissues. Furthermore, new orthodontic and surgical techniques, together with ever-improving training,  have advanced orthognathic surgery, while the realisation that such care should include psychological monitoring and interventions (principally developed in the UK), has created a truly holistic approach to clinical care.

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