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Harvard dental vs. Harvard Medical curriculum

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chury

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Hi,

I am second year in a MD school. A friend of mine is in his first year in Harvard dental school. He said thay are taking exactly the same classes like medical school people in their first 2 years, plus some additional dental courses. I understand this when it comes to Histo, biochem, Anatomy, but why would they have CV class on the same level, or pulmonary, renal or reproductive. How about physical diagnosis? I really do not get this Harvard approach. Do their dental students learn how to read EKG's and how to use the stethoscope, etc. It really does not make sense since they will not practice medicine but dentistry and will not be allowed to do stuff like MD's. Any thoughts on this?
 

DrJeff

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I'll chime in on this as a dentist having gone through the same basic science curriculum during the first 2 years as the med students while I was at UCONN. The dental/medical link is alot more relevant that you may think. First off is the entire system effect of the medications that we as dentists prescribe, dentists need to be just as aware as MD's/DO's. Then, the event that everyone in healthcare hopes never happens to them, the medical emergency in the office. Dentists have to be just as trained to first recognize and then manage the situation as physicians. Lastly, and most importantly, many system diseases have oral manifestations which we in the dental profession can pick up on. The proper education background to ask the addtional questions about other systemic effects can lead to quicker and hopefully more successful treatment by a physician. This last statement is especially true since many patients see their dentist more frequently than their physician.
 

jhf

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I went to Harvard to study dentistry, and I can vouch that what your friend told you is true. We even learned how to read EKG's and use stethescopes (unbelievable but true). I believe that a number of schools have the same or a similar approach to the first two years of training; there are also a number of schools that provide a watered down version of the basic sciences (ie. minimal CV, renal, etc.). Why do some schools require their dental students to learn in detail such medical subjects and techniques? I believe there are three main reasons:

1) Its cheaper and easier for the dental school to have the medical school train the dental students for the first two years.

2)Exposing a student to a detailed basic science cirriculum may prove inspirational in their later career.

3) (read below)

As dentists, we require a limited fund of medical knowledge to practice. One can learn how to handle medical emergencies in the dental office after reading a chapter in an Oral Surgery text. We only perscribe and administer handful of medications to our patients, so why do we have to learn in detail the mechanism of action of the various diuretics (or most other meds)? Only a limited array of medical conditions contraindicate (or require augmentation) of a given dental procedure. So why do we have to learn the basic sciences as in depth as your typical MD?

I am currently an Oral and Maxillofacial surgery resident. I can attest that the majority medical residents that I have met have forgot the majority of what they've learned during the first two years of medical school. When I took Step 1, I must say that I forgot much of what I learned in med school, and in a few years I will most likely forget it all again. In my opinion, the basic science cirriculum is not meant to teach students information that they will retain. It is a test of ones dedication to their profession, an excercise in memory and problem solving, and an emphasis on retaining that 20% of invaluable information. This is what I walked away with after my first two years of dental school, and I'm very grateful for the experience.
 

chury

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i agree with you but most of dental school graduates will be dentists and will not take your path. will they read ekg and use stetoscope? i would be pissed off if they thought us how to do root canal and filling since i will never do that (i will also not be licensed to do that). most dentists cannot prescribe meds like nitroglycerine or beta blockers and they will never read another ekg.
 

baracuda

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Columbia also has the dental students take the first two years with med students. Does anyone know if they are to know everything to the same depth? Its nice to learn more about the human body, as long as it doesn't come at the expense of missing clinical time and developing good hand/surgical skills.
 

DrJeff

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Originally posted by chury:
•i agree with you but most of dental school graduates will be dentists and will not take your path. will they read ekg and use stetoscope? i would be pissed off if they thought us how to do root canal and filling since i will never do that (i will also not be licensed to do that). most dentists cannot prescribe meds like nitroglycerine or beta blockers and they will never read another ekg.•••

A couple of things for your enlightenment here. First off my DEA license lets me prescribe any and all medications that an MD/DO can. Granted in general I only will write for anti-biotics/ pain meds/ occasional sedatives/ and anti histamines, but if I want to write for nitro or a beta blocker I certainly can.

Secondly, as a licensed MD/DO you technically are licensed to preform a root canal and any dental procedure that you feel fit to try. Granted you'll be held up to the same standards by a jury as I can do them at, but you can still do them if you want! :eek: :D
 

neeky

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DRJeff,

you are my hero, your posts are always informative and helpful and needless to say reassuring... by the way I am going to UConn next year...and will be learning all my basic sciences! :D
 

chury

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really! well I do not think so! Send me some documents where it says i can perform a root canal procedure.
Also, never heard any dentist prescribe a beta blocker or diuretic. I really think they are not allowed to do so.(maybe i am wrong). But even if they are allowed, they never do so. so what is the point anyway?
 

Ineedanassociate

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Dr. Jeff is correct on both points of contention. Here in Vermont the state Dental Practice act does allow physcians to practice dentistry if they wish. Do you know of any Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons without dental school training? Second Anaesthesiaoligists who went to dental school first administer and Rx a whole variety of medications and most of them only went to dental school.
 

Ineedanassociate

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I hope my posting made sense I think I should leave Dr. Jeff to defend his position himself as he is a much smoother writer than I am!
 

neeky

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Perhaps chury needs to stop obsessing about dentistry and spend a little more time worrying about his own career? just a thought ;)
 

chury

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how can somebody practice dentistry if they were never thought to do so? that's stupid and dangerous isn't it?

well i guess then dentists could do open heart surgery then.

IT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE.

Anesthesiologists go through MD school.

Maxillofacial surgeons must complete MD school (years 3 and 4 of med school at least). so they get 2 degrees MD and DMD (or DDS). got it?
 

chury

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how stupid you sound: anesthesiologists went to dental school only. Well, if you have such stupid comments no wonder it is easy to convince you that every MD can fix somebody's teeth.

The only MD that can do that is Maxillo-facial surgeon who has BOTH DDS and MD degrees. Not other MD can do that. It is a plain common sense.
 

Blue Tooth

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Plain common sense? One undoubtedly has difficulty understanding your ramblings considering your inability to correctly use words, grammer, and the english language as a whole. How interesting this all is coming from an M2 with the vocabulary, intellect, and maturity of a pubescent 15 year old. I'm sorry, what school did you say you were from? Was it St. Thomas or St. Croix? Why don't you just drop the discussion? Considering you lack the ability to believe anything people tell you, why did you ask a question in the first place. Did you ever consider that many state licensure laws were drafted a long time ago and since the system that developed worked, there was no need to correct the remaining vestigial elements that you seem to have such difficulty grasping because they are "illogical"? The laws weren't drafted to be exclusively understandable for you and you alone. You're probably someone who's just here to start trouble, and had no interest in getting your question answered in the first place. I'll let the actual docs chime in here with the details that may actually shut you up.
 

chury

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You cannot correct my grammar! If I mistyped the word so what? I stay behind my comments.

BTW, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine if you want to know!
 

chury

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BTW, next time I go for my physical I will ask my physician to fix my teeth.
 

neeky

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ok,

what I think some of us have forgotten is that we have all chosen a "service" field and arguing about little details as to who gets to do what is simply silly and a moot point. Our purpose is to service our patients and whether or not it is appropriate for dental students to learn about the basic sciences in a med school ...is well simply up to that dental student. We should all strive to learn as much as we can and be the best care givers we can be..learning more than we "lowly..perhaps undeserving?" dental students "need" to know cannot be a problem. I think someone is getting all self righteous about getting his "MD" and forgetting the big picture... just (another) thought...
 

DrJeff

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Originally posted by chury:
•how can somebody practice dentistry if they were never thought to do so? that's stupid and dangerous isn't it?

well i guess then dentists could do open heart surgery then.

IT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE.

Anesthesiologists go through MD school.

Maxillofacial surgeons must complete MD school (years 3 and 4 of med school at least). so they get 2 degrees MD and DMD (or DDS). got it?•••
 

DrJeff

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Originally posted by chury:
•how can somebody practice dentistry if they were never thought to do so? that's stupid and dangerous isn't it?

well i guess then dentists could do open heart surgery then.

IT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE.

Anesthesiologists go through MD school.

Maxillofacial surgeons must complete MD school (years 3 and 4 of med school at least). so they get 2 degrees MD and DMD (or DDS). got it?•••

Sorry Churry to correct again, but not all oral surgeons are DMD or DDS/MD. There are two types of oral surgery residencies, 4 year certificate programs that don't have a combined MD and 6 year combined MD programs. There is absolutely NO difference between the 2 when it comes to who can and can't do specific proceedures. True, a combined MD grad may have certain advantages especially as alot of oral surgeons branch into facial cosmetic proceedures, or the combined degree oral surgeons may have an advantage if an academic career is their desire, but for day to day oral surgery practice there is no difference between the 2.

And once again, a dental DEA license is the same as a medical DEA license. So a dentist can write for any drug. Very, very few will write for more than antibiotics/pain meds/limited anti anxiolitics/ anti histamines, but we can write for all others if we so desire.

Lastly, just as Ineedanassociate said, the medical license does allow you if you want to practice dental proceedures, the reciprocal in most cases does not hold true though. It basically gets down to old statutes that allows physicians to treat any health issue. In the 100+ years since these were written, the scope and specification of practice as well as the standard of care has made the literal interpretation of the license wording out of date, but it exists none the less.

Just remember, if you don't get a good grasp on the history of things, you're bound to repeat a past failure. Or to put it another way, ignorance is bliss!

:D
 
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