The Effectiveness of Hands-On Dental Continuing Education Seminars

It has long been widely accepted as good practice for health care professionals to keep up-to-date with their clinical skills and knowledge and ensure that research developments and new techniques are integrated into patient care.

The pursuit of ongoing professional education or updating is referred to as continuing professional development (CPD). CPD is defined as a process of “lifelong learning for all individuals and teams which meets the needs of patients and delivers the health outcomes and healthcare priorities of the current health system and which enables professionals to expand and fulfill their potential.” (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011)

Increasing public expectations, an aging society (with its associated comorbidities), the increasing diversity of the health professions workforce, and the greater likelihood of refresher training following career breaks are just some of the pressures that heighten the importance of effective ongoing professional educational activity. At the start of the 21st Century, however, escalating health care costs and the growing gap between health care evidence and practice prompted close scrutiny of health professions education as one contributing solution for improving the health care delivery system (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011).

Professionals working in dentistry are no exception to these pressures. The changing profile of dental disease is well documented. For example, an aging population brings with it the need for more complex high technology dentistry with the principal clinical dental auxiliaries and their utilization in the dental workforce. (Baltutis and Morgan, 1998); increasing numbers of women dentists are evident in younger age groups then number of male applicants (National Centre for Educational Statistics, 2014; American Dental Association, 2011) and, in recent years, legislative amendments have altered the skill mix in primary care dental teams, with, for example, expanded roles for dental therapists and up to date knowledge therapy (The Dental Auxiliaries (Amendment) Regulation, 2002; General Dental Council, 2013).

Scope of practice now is likely to change over the course of your career, both because of changes in the technology of dentistry, and your further training and development. The guidance also describes additional skills that you might develop after registration to increase your scope of practice. You may expand your scope by developing additional skills, or you may deepen your knowledge of a particular area by choosing more specialized practice. Education and training at all levels (predoctoral, postdoctoral, and continuing professional development) offer the potential to prepare and respond to these challenges and changes (General Dental Council, 2013).

Why Continued Education is Important and Necessary

Dental continuing education is extremely important to keep dentists of all levels on top of the major changes in the industry. The medical and dental industry undergo major changes within a short period of time due to technological advances and novel scientific inventions in the field. A dentist will find it difficult to keep abreast with the latest developments in the industry without an effective dental continuing education hands-on course, class or even lectures. There are many reasons why a dentist should continue the education even after he or she graduates from Medical School. Below are the main reasons or importance which necessitate the continual education (Lenglet, 2009):

  • Dentists will be able to improve their skills and learn the latest techniques during such continuing educational sessions. Dental practices can change with each passing day. There will be new techniques and technologies coming into the field on a frequent basis. This is one of the major reasons why dentists should continue with their education while practicing their profession.
  • License renewal is another reason for the importance of dental continuing education. Once the dentist graduates and goes into practice, he or she needs to be registered with their relevant state authority. Each state will have their own set of license requirements. All states will stipulate that such licenses be renewed from time to time such as annually or bi-annually.
  • Continuing education in the dental field will ensure that the patients of such dentists are offered the latest diagnostic, preventive and treatment methods in the industry. This will benefit the patient in an immense way. The patient will get the best treatment by visiting such dental practitioners in their town. It would no doubt help the dentist to attract a large number of patients and enhance their reputation among the patients. The quality of service offered to the patient will improve in leaps and bounds due to this reason.
  • Continuing education will open new career pathways to individuals who are beginning their career in the dental industry. It will help to provide opportunities for growth and advancement for such individuals and enhance their earning power as a result. Continuing education in the dental field will help to enhance the professionalism of the individuals participating in these seminars, classes and programs. They will be armed with the latest knowledge in the field of dentistry. This is one of the major benefits to continue education in the dental field.
  • The internet has revolutionized the way dental continuing education is being conducted within the U.S. Dental professionals can search far and wide for the best dental seminars to attend. The convenience and ease of access are some of the other major reasons why more and more dental professionals are continuing to participate in on-going dental education programs. Most of these programs are quite affordable when compared with some of the other continuing education programs out there.
  • Continuing education programs within the dental industry are a great way of developing junior staff working in most of the dental offices around the country. Most senior dentists would send their junior staff to these courses and seminars as a team-building measure. They offer staff development opportunities to the junior cadre by way of dental continuing education courses and seminars. This is another reason for the extreme popularity of such courses and seminars today.

 

References:

S. Department of Health and Human Services (2011). Advisory Committee on Interdisciplinary, Community-Based Linkages (ACICBL). Continuing Education, Professional Development, and Lifelong Learning for the 21st Century Health Care Workforce. Available from: http://www.hrsa.gov/advisorycommittees/bhpradvisory/acicbl/Reports/eleventhreport.pdf

American Dental Association (2011). 2009-10 Survey of Dental Education Academic Programs Enrollment Academic Programs, Enrollment, and Graduates – Volume 1. Available from: http://www.agd.org/files/webuser/website/membership/vol.%201_academic%20programs_enrollment_graduates.pdf

Baltutis, L. and Morgan, M. (1998). The changing role of dental auxiliaries: a literature review. Australian Dental Journal. 43(5): pp. 354-8.

National Center for Educational Statistics (2014). Postsecondary Institutions and Cost of Attendance in 2013–14; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred, 2012–13; and 12-Month Enrollment, 2012–13. Available from: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2014/2014066.pdf.

General Dental Council (2013). Scope of Practice. Available from: http://www.gdc-uk.org/Dentalprofessionals/Standards/Documents/Scope%20of%20Practice%20September%202013%20(3).pdf.

Lenglet, Gust (2009). The Importance of Dental Continuing Education. At: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Importance-of-Dental-Continuing-Education&id=3090585

The Dental Auxiliaries (Amendment) Regulation, 2002. Available from: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2002/1671/contents/made .

 

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Dr. Emma Galvan, Executive Director

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