Oral Health Group

Investing for Your Professional Success

March 1, 2007
by Council of Deans, Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry

While practice management gurus extol the advantages of practice team building, electronic office systems and patient marketing in order to the further enhance a rewarding practice, everyone knows that these all pale against the predominant factor contributing to our success as clinicians: our command of scientific knowledge and clinical skills, and the ability to combine these in the best interests of the people we serve.

Yet how does one invest in this most import factor that underpins the future of our profession?


The answer lies in the dental institution of your choice, one that promotes the best clinical practices and the latest and most rigorous science in the education of its students.

Dentistry’s proud tradition of self regulated governance also brings the responsibility to steward the resources that will allow future generations to achieve the level of success of current clinicians. This will require direct contributions for individual dental professionals, in terms of both funding and in their most valuable commodity, their own time. Numerous practitioners generously devote time weekly to lecture, tutor and supervise patients at their local dental school. As the credit card commercial says, “priceless”.

Dental professionals contribute both individually and through their societies and indeed provincial associations. The Alberta Dental Association & College has demonstrated tremendous leadership in recognizing the need to support new initiatives such as a Chair in Geriatrics and a Chair in Clinical Dental Research through a multimillion dollar grant to the dental programme.

Direct funding to the dental school of your choice ensures that your funds will be used according to your wishes and the specific priorities of that dental school. Priorities vary between dental schools depending upon their provincial environment, local government support and stage of maturity.

Strong dental schools produce graduates with the ability to apply the most appropriate and up to date techniques, and the ability to assess the new techniques that pop up continuously… Quality graduates select senior associates on the basis of the quality of practice. Such individuals are the future core of a strong profession, future leaders that will guide their colleagues and engage the government and the public.

Strong dental schools provide the best in quality-assured, outcome-evaluated and economic continuing education which is always “closer to home”. These programs are designed to best address to the needs and culture of the local dental population.

Finally, strong dental schools provide the scientific expertise needed to evaluate current practices, to assess policy as a service to the regulatory bodies and the dental associations and over time, make those discoveries without which we would not be the profession we are today (more effective preventive approaches, advanced pain and anxiety management, adhesive and aesthetic restorative materials, implant and rehabilitative surgery and prosthetics, digital and enhanced imaging and cost effective orthodontics among others).

The relationship among university faculties of dentistry and professional associations is strong because all dentists are the product of dental education. Canada’s faculties of dentistry provide two critically important benefits to the dental profession:

1. The practising profession’s sole link to the university and with it the professional status that dentistry enjoys, and,

2. The scientific and technological base that permits dental professionals to maintain the public trust. Enhanced recognition and appreciation of these fundamental two-way relationships is the key to beneficial, mutual growth.

It is the responsibility of public servants (both elected and otherwise), community leaders, and the medical and dental professions to break down impediments and barriers that diminish access to oral health care. This is all the more important in an age which recognises the fact that oral health is an important pillar of general health.

Take the lead and get in touch with your alma mater. Invest in your dental school directly. Invest in your future success.

Council of Deans, Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry

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