June 2006
Volume 2, Issue 5

From the Editor

Gerard Kugel, DMD, MS, PhD

Dear Readers:This month, rather than focusing solely on the here and now, we take a reflective look at our discipline’s history and consider what lies ahead as a result of ongoing initiatives as we explore “The Legacy of Dental Research.”

The relevancy of research. When it comes to what we do, how we do it, and what we use to accomplish our professional objectives, nothing bears more relevancy than basic science and applied research. What is examined could be purely dental-related or perhaps based in biomedical and engineering sciences, but when it is applied to dentistry, great things can happen. Research—whether federally funded or manufacturer-inspired, conducted at dental schools or at private institutes—is the common denominator in the achievements and advancements that have brought dentistry and the oral health care profession to where it is today. Reviewing just a glimpse of the scientific and historical happenings in dentistry demonstrates the evolutionary effects that research has had—and will continue to have—on the paradigms and practices that guide our profession.

The oral cavity takes center stage. The time has come in which dentistry is at the forefront of health care, and it is the vast wealth of research taking place throughout the dental profession that has made this positioning possible. It is clear that the oral cavity is a window into the human biologic system. It is today’s dental research—conducted in collaboration with other fields such as bioengineering, tissue engineering, and genetics—that is paving the way for the future of risk assessment, disease prevention, and diagnostics. Simultaneously, researchers at dental institutions and research centers are among today’s most pioneering scientists—those exploring tissue regeneration and stem cell technologies. Their legacy will be how they changed restorative treatment alternatives and predictable clinical outcomes.

Rally around research. Support for dental research initiatives requires a conscientious commitment on the part of dental professionals everywhere, whether through contributions, participation, or lobbying efforts. As our esteemed interviewees explain, the inherent value of research is the promise it holds for improvement based on what we will someday know and/or be capable of doing. It requires enormous amounts of ongoing funding; people interested in, justly compensated and acknowledged for, and continuously cultivated to pursue research; and stringent evaluation to ensure the validity of methods and findings. Supporting dental research is important for the growth and development of our discipline, and it is becoming increasingly significant to ensuring enhanced clinical outcomes in the overall health care arena. We should be proud of the legacy of research that enables us to enjoy a vibrant career today and the initiatives that will strengthen our profession in the future.

On behalf of everyone at Inside Dentistry, we hope you enjoy this issue and our look at “The Legacy of Dental Research.” We encourage you to send us your thoughts and reactions to our clinical content and editorial coverage to letters@insidedentistry.net. Thank you for reading, and thank you for your continued support.

With sincere thanks,

Gerard Kugel, DMD, MS, PhD
gkugel@aegiscomm.com

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