You’re fresh HS grad and you are flipping through colleges, universities, and college courses. However, you are dead set on pursuing a career as a dentist. Congratulations, dental health care is a rewarding profession. While it may not be as glamorous as Liberal Arts or as popular as nursing, dentistry has its own “pogi” points.
Dentists are somewhat unique. Dental professionals get to appreciate the world of both science and art. Aside from treating patients from caries and other oral health dilemma, dentists should be creative and display enough understanding of symmetry.
Veering away from the traditional
Popular culture has portrayed dentists in a humorous but somewhat bad light (recall that dentist in Little Shop of Horrors?). Fortunately, those stereotypical roles are being left behind and these days; dentistry has proven to be quite flexible and has made strides in other areas concerning oral health.
For example, dentists are involved in the diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the gums and teeth. There are dentists whose expertise includes restoration, surgery, and other aspects related to the aesthetic side of dentistry. Finally, there are dentists associated with public education and the prevention of diseases.
The area you are willing to explore depends entirely on your interest and your life goals.
Are you prepared?
Dentists are basically, people-oriented. Having to deal with different personalities - with different demands, different social backgrounds, and different problems – dentists would have to demonstrate extreme patience and composure at all times.
As a science, dentistry thrives on research and new methods and tools are always introduced. As such, dentists must also be prepared and equipped to a lifetime of learning.
If you’ve answered yes and yes, then it’s time to consider the schools. Dentistry is offered in about 30 colleges and universities in the country. Tuition fees range from PhP 8,000.00 to PhP 50,000.00 per semester.
It truly is an investment and for many folks, the large amount of cash needed to finish 6 years of dental school (pre-dentistry courses, included) is the deal breaker. However, committing to a course in dentistry and eventually getting a degree and professional license are rewarding enough.
Next, we’ll discuss how future dentists and dental schools can help put health issues at the forefront of public health awareness.
If you’ve been following crucial environment world news, then chances are you’re familiar with the Mercury Treaty that was adopted early this year. The development was welcome by both environmentalists and health experts, stating that the treaty could do wonders in the management and reversal of mercury emissions worldwide.
Mercury is used in a number of industrial, household – and until recently even healthcare products. The Department of Health (DOH)in the Philippines together with the efforts of various NGOs (non-government organizations) worked to remove the use of mercury-containing products in the healthcare sector.
As you may know from our previous post, mercury is a potent neurotoxin and is a vital component of silver fillings or more commonly known as dental amalgams. Research studies conducted by the International Academy Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) in the US have consistently shown that toxic mercury fumes emanating from the amalgam can seep into the body, pollute the bloodstream and cause complications in the nervous, digestive, and respiratory systems. They also warned that aside from the patients, dental health practitioners are at a significant risk from handling dental amalgams.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates use of dental mercury amounts to between 300 – 400 metric tonnes per year thus justifying a need for a phasedown and elimination.
IAOMT in the Philippines, headed by Dr. Lillian Ebuen, has been working for years to get mercury fillings out of dental clinics and schools. With the adaption of Administrative Order 21, which strictly prohibits the use of mercury-containing products in healthcare facilities, Dr. Ebuen is surprised by the lack of mention for dental clinics and schools.
Dr. Ebuen campaigned vigorously and last year she gained momentum as the DOH finally expressed support for the removal of dental amalgams. The Quezon City chapter of the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) followed suit with a resolution and expressed commitment to their principles of “protecting vulnerable sectors such as children and pregnant women.”
The chapter resolution expresses the endorsement of non-mercury alternatives among its members and encourages the gradual phase-out of dental amalgams in clinics as well as dental schools.
Dr. Ebuen expressed optimism and excitement and sees the move as a step towards the right direction, saying that the academe is vital for change and that hopefully future generation of dentists will be open to more ideas and stay true to their oath of reaching out to the marginalized sectors. “The influence of the PDA is undeniable and to have the organization on our side and expressing support for our advocacy is of great boost to us. We are optimistic that other chapters of the PDA will follow soon.” Dr. Ebuen said.
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