One night, after ordering my books online, I randomly looked up “Extracted teeth” and found several websites based all across the globe selling extracted human teeth. Surprisingly, none of these websites mentioned how the teeth were acquired and whether they were collected for sale ethically upon receiving patient consent.
April 7-8th, 2014 marks the dates on which delegations of dental students will converge on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of our organization’s 20,000 members as a part of ASDA’s National Dental Student Lobby Day. This two-day legislative event provides dental students with an amazing opportunity to meet face-to-face with our federal legislators tasked with the power to make decisions on our Country’s behalf…
With each new patient comes a complex set of systemic illnesses and oral conditions. Similarly, with each new professor comes slightly differing opinions and a subtle subjectivity in clinical judgment. So what do you do when these differences in opinions affect both you and your patient?With each new patient comes a new complex set of systemic illnesses and oral conditions. Similarly, with each new professor comes slightly differing opinions and a subtle subjectivity in clinical judgment. So what do you do when these differences in opinions affect both you and your patient?
Imagine for a minute that you have an adult family member who has a neurodevelopmental disorder, such as autism, or an intellectual disability (ND/ID). This individual with special needs must see a dentist to alleviate pain or treat oral disease but you cannot afford care and don’t qualify for Medicaid. What do you do now? How long will your loved one have to suffer?
Now come back to reality. You are a dental student who has the ability to learn, provide care and advocate for patients with special needs. Currently, those with an intellectual disability are the most underserved medical and dental population (MUP).
Pictured here is the model for a virtual dental home concept at the University of Pacific School of Dentistry. Using cloud technology, the university is able to manage a program that delivers care to virtual dental homes for traditionally underserved populations. You can read more about this program in the winter issue of Mouth, available online now.
Is teledentistry and the virtual dental home the future of dentistry? While only time will tell, this model serves as an attempt to address dentistry’s barriers to care issue. But before we can look into its efficacy, we are faced with the question: Is this model ethical?
As a second-year dental student, licensure remains a distant prospect that rarely weighs on my mind. However, after recently sitting as a patient for a screening exam in an early clinic course, the concept of the patient-based portion of dental licensure became much more relevant to me. During that screening, I received some over-due radiographs and was subsequently determined to be an ideal board patient. This means I have a carious lesion in one (actually two, embarrassingly) of my teeth that would effectively make me a perfect patient for a fourth-year dental student to take their upcoming licensure exam. As a fellow dental student, I am perhaps considered to be more reliable than another patient and radiographically, the lesion has progressed just enough to where it shouldn’t pose any surprises during the examination. However, there are various ethical issues associated with patient-based exams.
Completing the requirements to graduate dental school is a difficult undertaking. Now envision that same grueling clinical process, but subtract dental insurance coverage from your patient population. Unfortunately, this has become a reality for dental students throughout Illinois.