An important trend in modern dentistry, vital to public health, is the broadening of the interests of dentists to include many aspects of general medicine, Dean Leroy M. S. Miner, of the Dental School, asserted in his annual report issued yesterday.
Hitherto "almost unscalable walls" have "encircled dentistry and dental education within the larger field of medicine," Dean Miner said.
Dental School Leads Cooperation
In breaking down this separation of the two professions, the dental schools have led the way, in the Dean's opinion.
"Of even greater importance, to the general public, as well as to dentistry, the influences of medicine have invaded dentistry and have altered the whole approach of the dental practitioner and teacher toward his problem as it is related to the public health.
Public Health Importance
"Fundamentally there has been a noticeable broadening of interests among dentists generally who understand better that the health of the public is as much their concern as it is the concern of the physician. Thus the primary goal of the practitioners the teacher, and by inference, the research investigator, is the general health of the patient rath- er than his oral health alone."
From his travels about the country and his contacts with hundreds of dentists in his capacity as president of the American Dental Association, Dean Miner found the "most encouraging aspect was the extent to which these basic ideals have permeated the country and entered into the very fabric of the philosophy of dentistry."
"An examination of the history of dentistry shows that is some advances the schools have provided leadership for the profession to follow, while in others, the profession has led the schools. In this most recent development the schools are now showing the way," he said.
Schools Best Equipped for Progress
"Fundamentally this is sound because if the dental schools are well coordinated in teaching and research with medical schools and the biological sciences and if they are adequately supported by endowment, they are far better equipped to initiate progress and expand its influence than any organization of practitioners."
Describing the research work of the Harvard Dental School in the past year, Dean Miner reported that "no better example of the absolute inseparability of dental problems from medicine and biology can be found than in the studies of partial deficiencies of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) pursued by a group of workers.