Specialization is nothing new. Especially with the sciences that concern human health. Have a skin rash? Go and see a dermatologist, even though the causes may have to do with your gut. The body is one entity, right? Shouldn’t more of these specialists be talking to each other? Herein lies the question around whether dentistry should receive as much attention as medicine.
Dentistry and medicine
One thing is the fact that doctors in one branch of medicine don't generally talk to colleagues in another. Not at least over the fear of meddling with something that hasn’t got anything to do with their own field. But, are we really one hundred percent sure about how the different groups of specialties should be so divided? Then imagine the huge divide that separates doctors and dentists. Being a dentist is already considered less of a status occupation than being a medical doctor. But why? Both are treating your body? The answer may be historical.
Oral Health in America
Previously, a hundred years ago or so, if you looked at who helped out in dental emergencies in small towns, it was perhaps the local blacksmith who aided those in need of tooth extraction. Barbers, too, did their share of dentistry. This historical fact could partly be the reason why dentistry is less of a status profession than general practitioners of medicine. But in 2017 there´s no doubt that more dentists and doctors should be talking to each other. Many problems begin in the mouth and may cause serious medical problems elsewhere in the body. In fact, some researchers are trying to identify the role of tooth inflammation and heart attacks. And recently, author Mary Otto came out with a book entitled “Teeth. The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America.”
Emergency Room Treatment
The book chronicles the concise history of dentistry in the United States, and this in itself makes for very interesting reading. The author sees, for example, that dentistry had more to do with extraction of teeth than anything else, and because of this became seen on as more of a “technical” profession. Even to this day, Otto writes, are dentists and doctors still not talking enough to each other. Doctors could be asking more about dental hygiene, and dentists should ask the patient if he or she has any other symptoms. Another problem is that many people need to use emergency room services to treat common dental problems. Why are these people not treated regularly by a dentist, instead of taking up valuable space in hospitals? The questions are many, and Mary Otto’s fascinating and interesting book is offers plenty of interesting insight into the topic.