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J Dent Educ. 2017 Aug;81(8):eS126-eS132. doi: 10.21815/JDE.017.019.

The Effect of New Oral Care Technologies on the Need for Dentists in 2040.

Author information

1
Dr. Milgrom is Professor of Oral Health Sciences, University of Washington, and a Principal in Advantage Silver Dental Arrest, LLC; and Dr. Horst is Fellow, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco. dfrc@uw.edu.
2
Dr. Milgrom is Professor of Oral Health Sciences, University of Washington, and a Principal in Advantage Silver Dental Arrest, LLC; and Dr. Horst is Fellow, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco.

Abstract

This article addresses changes in technology of oral self-care or professional care that may increase or decrease the demand for dentists by 2040. The focus is on dental caries, periodontitis, and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), as the first two are the main areas of current practice and because TMD is an area for growth. To address this question, the authors examined the scientific literature and government registries to identify recent or soon-to-be-available technologies. They also examined the state of translational efficiency, dissemination, and adoption of advances into dental practice. The pipeline of applicable technology is limited. Nevertheless, between now and 2040, emerging technologies will continue to reduce the need for training more dentists, while no technologies are emerging that will significantly increase the need. Technology in dentistry is adopted slowly as is true in other medical specialties. If a breakthrough product did appear, the results of industry-sponsored trials would be viewed skeptically by the profession, and considerable time would be required to establish the applicability of the findings to the broader population. Greater integration of dentistry into preventive medicine, with dentists offering point-of-service medical testing for systemic disease as suggested by the American Dental Association (ADA), would require a paradigm shift, can occur only over a lengthy period, and is unlikely to impact this assessment. This article was written as part of the project "Advancing Dental Education in the 21st Century."

KEYWORDS:

dental caries; dentists; periodontitis; self-care; temporomandibular joint disorders

PMID:
28765464
DOI:
10.21815/JDE.017.019
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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