August 18, 1978

Lectures on Dentistry in Medical Schools

Author Affiliations

Georgetown University Schools of Medicine and Dentistry Washington, DC

JAMA. 1978;240(7):673-674. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290070075026

Although the medical and dental professions have much in common, their knowledge about each other is disparate. Dental schools teach students the essentials of clinical medicine, but the typical medical school does not reciprocate concerning dentistry. I assume that this curriculum omission is based on two assumptions: (1) So much is to be learned in medical school that the mouth and teeth are comparatively unimportant and not worthy of scarce curricular time. (2) The mouth is really not being neglected since dentists handle oral problems.

Unfortunately, medical schools usually do not teach students what the dentist can do to diagnose and treat such problems. Therefore, physicians receive their MD degree without having any more knowledge of the scope of modern dentistry than they had when entering medical school as freshmen.

To fill this void in the medical curriculum, we requested seven years ago that three lectures on dentistry be given