Students benefit greatly from dental clinics

February 16th, 2015


Dental students can greatly benefit from studying at clinics. They can gain even more advantages when the entire curriculum is based on this model, so they receive an education not only in basic dental practices but also in comprehensive care, which includes many other procedures and investigative techniques besides just practicing dental hygiene and performing basic oral care. The best way of going about this is creating a clinic at the university or college and having students run the entire business. In the same way comprehensive care is a more complete picture of the dental practitioner's life, so would learning to use dental enterprise software, the program used to run a dental clinic, create a better model of what a student will have to do in the field.

Learning through a clinic is better
A recent study by Doctor Mojdeh Dehghan of the department of restorative dentistry at the University of Tennessee found that the students there who recently switched from a departmental clinical education model of teaching to a comprehensive care model with a group leader greatly preferred the ladder model of education. This is because by the end of the training, they were much more adept at performing difficult clinical procedures than they otherwise would have been.

It would greatly help a school of dentistry to provide its students with a clinic where they can learn by practicing on real patients with actual problems. In a textbook, the examples of different diseases found in the mouth are all demonstrated to point out the specific issues that someone in a clinic will face. But actual medicine is much more complex. A patient may have some of the symptoms or only just the very beginnings of a certain malady. The problems a dentist will encounter in real life will be very different from the same diseases seen in a textbook. Learning by doing will be very different from images of very classic illness patterns.

Learning EHR and medical coding is also important
An additional matter of importance is the proliferation of electronic health records. Most dentists are using them now, and Dentistry IQ reported that their demand, rather than decreasing with saturation is actually rising because doctors are finding still more uses for them. As such, learning how to fill out EHR will become ever more important. The transition from ICD-9 coding standards to the ICD-10 model, which will happen in November of this year is another matter of concern. Students will have to do their EHR coding in the ICD-9 standard, which is now required, but they will also need to spend time learning the new ICD-10 form. Additionally, the international coding standards have already moved forward to ICD-10. If a clinic is near one of the U.S. borders, it is possible someone will need to prepare medical records under both standards.

In the best-case scenario, the ICD-10 transition will happen as scheduled, but it has already been delayed several times. Students would ideally therefore have a strong grasp of both coding procedures in order to accurately fill out insurance claims and help patients understand their medical records.

Learning how to run a clinic
Students will eventually need to work in the real world, and the more tools they have already learned to use, the better the move will be. If they can spend time in their later years at school figuring out how to run a clinic with dental enterprise software, then they will have a better chance of employment because they won't need as much time training and getting used to the daily operations of a small dentist's office.

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