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Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2014 Dec;118(6):637-41. doi: 10.1016/j.oooo.2014.07.010. Epub 2014 Aug 1.

The dentist as doctor: a rallying call for the future.

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Department of Restorative Dentistry & Prosthodontics, University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston, TX, USA. Electronic address:
Division of Periodontology, University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, Lexington, KY, USA.
Department of Dental Medicine, Lutheran Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, USA.
Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental, Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Department of Oral Surgery and Hospital Dentistry, Indiana University School of, Dentistry, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.



When the future status of dentistry is considered, scholarship in the profession plays a key role. It is by scholarship that dentistry distinguishes itself as a learned and esteemed profession, and this position paper aims to explore and promote this vital core value.


As Fellows of the American Dental Education Association's selective Leadership Institute, the authors spent over a year critically examining the role of scholarship in dentistry, which was identified as a critical issue for the profession. A review of the health care literature was conducted to inform this paper's position.


Scholarship is clearly the trait that distinguishes a profession from a trade, as evidenced by trends in other health care professions, as well as dentistry. Although dentistry is a learned profession rightly meriting that distinction, there are a few notable areas that can be improved.


Because scholarship defines a profession, dentists as doctors and the leaders in oral health should demonstrate the highest scholarship; absence of scholarship risks perception of dentistry as a trade. All dentists can consistently manifest scholarship by integrating basic science, as well as by incorporating the dental evidence-base, into daily practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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