Dr. Chris McCulloch, Professor in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto, offered insights into how periodontics might be practiced 10 years from now.
- There will be an emerging and substantial population of patients with atypical types of periodontal lesions that are much more challenging to diagnose. These lesions will be considerably more challenging to treat due in part to the complexity of diagnosis and because of the increasing needs of the aging North American population.
- There is an increasing understanding of how systemic diseases impact the health of the periodontium, which will create more diagnostic and therapeutic challenges, particularly in diabetics and individuals who take medictions that impact oral health.
- More and more adults and North Americans suffer less and less tooth loss, there is an increasing frequency of “odd-ball” types of periodontal lesions that are starting to surface.
- Changes in the knowledge base of the discipline that could change practice:
- We are now on the cusp of getting a better understanding of how the cell lineages of the periodontium form, how they are regulated, and how their metabolites impact the maintenance and restoration of periodontal tissues.
- There are new, emerging ideas about the critical systems that regulates inflammation in general, and the periodontium in particular.
- There is a slightly better understanding of the relationship between endodontic disease and periodontal disease but the nature of the microbiota in these different diseases and how the various tissue compartmets interact, needs to be better worked out.
- We still don’t have a good fundamental knowledge of the determinants of occlusal health and how deviations of physiological occlusion develop.
- The role for the association of the future is first and foremost to facilitate knowledge exchange between practitioners and researchers in the field of dentistry.
- Consider the creation of virtual town-hall meetings that would create a better sense of professional community. The role of the association of the future in facilitating knowledge exchange and translation, will help dental professionals thrive in a changing professional climate.