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Letters: Specialties

January 21, 2013

In an editorial in the journal Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology (December 2012), "Medical School-Based Education in Dentistry: An Exciting History and Opportune Future," Dr. Leon Assael closes with the following: "Let us pursue greater ties to medical schools at the undergraduate and graduate program levels, more integrated biomedical education, interprofessional clinical education and experiences, interprofessional practice models, and combined degree education beyond OMS into the additional disciplines represented by OOOO."

I leave the perusal of the content of his editorial to the interested reader. What I am about here is to decry the continued provincialism of the ADA with respect to the continued resistance to granting specialty status to oral medicine and anesthesiology ("House Says No to Dental Anesthesiology," Nov. 5, 2012 ADA News). In particular, the former, whose nascence in 1946 speaks to some 66 years of advancing the overall standing of oral health care delivery throughout the world along with anesthesiology, an art an science which dentistry pioneered and unfortunately surrendered to the greater medical community.

I began the study of dentistry 42 years ago surrounded by young colleagues imbued with the hopes and dreams of the youth of the late '60s. I had, among my faculty, mentors who saw what they did as extending far beyond plastic, porcelain and metal castings. I had hoped that my contemporaries would seize the moment, and carry these visions forward.
Unfortunately, this profession has a way of insuring that the status quo is maintained. We have obviously become our forebears in too many ways.

Looking at curriculum reform, the Council on Dental Education and Licensure ought to give serious consideration to Dr. Assael's editorial. Considering the future, the American Dental Association owes oral medicine and dental anesthesiology their long overdue recognition.

Arnold Rosenstock, D.D.S.
Boca Raton, Fla.