Dental Anatomy for the Medical Practitioner
|Reference, Tutorial||9303||1||January 8, 2013|
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has launched an initiative to build a competency-based oral health in medicine model curriculum. It is postulated that this initiative may have been born from the results of a recent publication (1) and others like it. The findings suggested that current medical curricula may be inadequate to prepare medical practitioners to engage in oral health promotion as part of the overall health professional team. This proposal is for a self-contained dental anatomy course that has a proven record of success in teaching dental anatomy using online technology (2). Through self-study, self-review and subsequent assessment, medical students will learn sufficient dental anatomy to do cursory oral exams, distinguish normal from abnormal eruption patterns, determine approximate age, read and interpret literature pertaining to oral health and in general distinguish normal from abnormal tooth structure. This will be the common basis for all discussions related to caries and periodontal disease detection, prevention, and understanding of the disease processes.
DeSchepper E. Dental Anatomy for the Medical Practitioner. MedEdPORTAL; 2013. Available from: www.mededportal.org/publication/9303
Contains Information Suitable for Patient Education
- To identify and distinguish permanent and deciduous dentition from digital images.
- To identify individual teeth by name and Universal number from digital images.
- To appropriately use and understand dental anatomy and oral nomenclature.
- To identify and name major tooth structures.
- To determine biological age from eruption patterns.
- To distinguish normal from abnormal tooth structure.
- To describe the attachment mechanism of teeth to jaws and the major periodontal structures.
- Dentin (MeSH), Periodontal Diseases (MeSH), Building Oral Health Capacity (BOHC) Collection, Caries, Enamel
- Family Medicine
- Internal Medicine
- Clinical Exam
- Gross Anatomy
- Pediatric Dentistry
- Physical Diagnosis
- Preventive Dentistry
- Medical Knowledge
- Patient Care
- Basic Sciences
- Gross Anatomy
- Clinical Sciences
- Clinical Exam
- Health Education
- Instructional Materials/Methods
- Oral Health
- Gastrointestinal system
- Professional School
- Dental Student
- Medical Student
- Nursing Student
- Independent Study
- Virtual Patient
Authors & Co-Authors
Edward DeSchepper, MAEd, DDS, MSD
Roseman University of Health Sciences
Sponsorship or Funding Source
Originally funded by $3000 institutional grant for faculty development at Indiana University School of Dentistry.
This project is also sponsored in part by funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration/Maternal Child Health Bureau grant #U44MC20223.
Effectiveness and Significance
This material was originally developed to provide self-study material for first-year dental students. Student feedback had indicated that the students would rather not have this material presented in lecture format (Reference, below). Therefore, future class lectures were no longer given and the only source of instruction was this module and self-study. Six years of data (3 years of classes with lectures and 3 years of classes of self-study only) indicated that there was no difference in student performance on assessments between the lecture and self-study formats (p<.05), (Reference, below). This is evidence of the ability of this online resource to achieve its intended outcome. Also, this material was used to help dental students successfully pass the Dental Anatomy and Occlusion section of the National Board of Dental Examiners test.
Reference: DeSchepper EJ, Brady D, Mirowski G, Reifeis P, Hohlt W. New Teaching Aids Developed At Indiana University School of Dentistry Educational Booth at Annual Meeting of the American Association of Dental Schools, Vancouver, British Columbia, March, 1999
Special Implementation Guidelines or Requirements
At the end of each module, students should check for learning using the attached assessments for the individual module, before progressing to the next module. These assessments are a fair sampling of the material in the module, but can be expanded or modified as needed. They are to serve as example assessments.. Access to tooth models and/or natural teeth can offer opportunity for practical application of knowledge. Exercises of identifying teeth from pictures, models or actual teeth, are very helpful to augment learning. The same is true for determining patient age based upon teeth present. After reviewing all modules, the student should go through all of the assessments, collectively. A single module can probably be mastered within 1 day of study. The “final” collective assessment or the use of practical applications will let the faculty know that the subject matter has been mastered.
Increasing the number of natural tooth images would greatly enhance learning. The included images selected were “typical” representations of teeth. However, like all human anatomy, dental anatomy has many instances of biologic variation. A greater number of variation examples would definitely prepare the practitioner for what they are likely to encounter in a medical practice environment. The work could also likely benefit from more interactive capabilities which are pervasive and available in today’s world of technology. Obtaining natural images are difficult, but the work could benefit from more of these and less “simulated” types of images of teeth. Overall, the work is capable of achieving its listed objectives, but the improvements listed above might make it a more definitive work. This resource is not meant to be a definitive work on all aspects of Dental/Oral anatomy. It is meant to give the medical practitioner working foundation knowledge of basic dental anatomy to augment their understanding of Oral Health and its relationship to total human health.
This information is made available under the Creative Commons license.
Publications, Presentations, and/or Citations for this Publication
- Report IX: Contemporary Issues in Medicine: Oral Health Education for Medical and Dental Students, Association of American Medical Colleges, June, 2008.
- DeSchepper EJ, Brady D, Mirowski G, Reifeis P, Hohlt W. New Teaching Aids Developed At Indiana University School of Dentistry Educational Booth at Annual Meeting of the American Association of Dental Schools, Vancouver, British Columbia, March, 1999.