Setting A New Standard in the Curriculum
For the last 30 years, the educational curriculum for pre-doctoral dental students in the United States has had no provision for laboratory procedures. On August 6, 2010 that changed when the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) revised the curriculum to read: “At a minimum, graduates must be competent in providing oral healthcare within the scope of general dentistry as defined by the school including … communicating and managing dental laboratory procedures in support of patient care.”
Anthony Ziebert, DDS, MS, director of CODA, believes the new standard provision was a direct result of the 2009 ADA Future of Dental Technology Conference last August. “At that meeting, it was clear from the NADL and the Prosthodontic Forum that pre-doctoral dental students seemed to have a lack of knowledge and that the dental schools were not teaching how to write a prescription or work with a laboratory technician,” he said. “ I think the new pre-doctoral standard will help address these concerns.”
Because the standard revision is so significant, dental schools will have until 2013 to demonstrate that they are in compliance. “They have to give us proof that their students know how to communicate with the dental laboratory and manage the dental laboratory procedures in a way that reflects what a general dentist should do,” Dr. Ziebert said.
This timeframe also provides CODA with the time to generate self-study guides to give guidance to programs on how to best meet these standards and what CODA will be looking for in terms of compliance.