Rationalizing the dental curriculum in light of current disease prevalence and patient demand for treatment: form vs. content.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The premise of this paper is that the form and content of dental education do not reinforce each other. What results is suboptimal learning; dissatisfied students; difficulty generating excitement among the brightest to consider careers in dental education; erosion of dentists' self-identity as men and women of science; and doubts over whether dental schools can continue as the primary providers of oral health education. A need for reform exists because dental curricula must be responsive to changes in current and projected disease demographics, to advances in science and technology, and to a changing societal culture affecting patient demand for treatment. Today's dilemma is that dental schools need to continue to graduate competent practitioners to meet present clinical needs while also preparing students for a radically different kind of practice in the future. Possible approaches to resolve this dilemma include: a shift between what constitutes general practice and what constitutes specialty practice; and, the implementation of an asynchronous-distributed model of dental education. Such changes will likely be independently accompanied by changes in the role of universities in society in general that could make feasible many, now-unthinkable, alternative vehicles for providing dental education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-735; discussion 736-743
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)

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