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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 158-161

Need and availability of dentists and specialists in oral medicine and radiology: A survey


1 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Sinhgad Dental College and Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Prosthodontics, Sinhgad Dental College and Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Amita Aditya
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Sinhgad Dental College and Hospital, S. no. 44/1, Vadgaon (Bk), Off Sinhgad Road, Pune - 411 041, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-1363.143690

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Introduction: The gap between the integration of medical and dental care in our country is quite evident, and requires the attention of both the faculties. Postgraduate training in Oral Medicine and Radiology is available in our country since many years. However, unlike other specialists in dentistry, it is not routine for a medical practitioner to refer patients to a specialist in Oral Medicine and Radiology. An introspection regarding the present situation is essential to improve the accessibility and availability of comprehensive oral healthcare. Objective: This survey was conducted to assess the perceived need and availability of dentists and specialists in Oral Medicine and Radiology by medical practitioners in Pune, Maharashtra. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire was sent by post to 200 randomly selected medical practitioners. Personal interviews were conducted among 41 medical practitioners in private practice and 25 working at a local teaching hospital. Hence, a total of 266 medical practitioners were approached for participation in the study. Results: Ninety-six percent of the practitioners have mentioned seeing patients with oral complaint(s) other than toothache in their practice. Thirty-four percent of the medical practitioners referred patients with dental or other oral problems directly to the dentists, 60% referred them after prescribing medicines, whereas, 6% of the medical practitioners treated such patients on their own. Sixty percent referrals were made to a general dental practitioner rather than a dental specialist. Seventy-two percent of them were not even aware of the presence of any Oral Medicine and Radiology specialists in their vicinity or city. Conclusion: Medical practitioners do perceive a need of dental practitioners for referring various oral problems. However, there seems to be little awareness among the medical practitioners regarding the expertise and availability of specialists in Oral Medicine and Radiology. Very few referrals of oral mucosal lesions are done to the dentists, as a majority of them are done to general dental practitioners rather than to an Oral Medicine and Radiology specialist.


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