Connecting Dentistry and Osteopathic Medicine
The January 2012 issue of AGD Impact (the monthly newsmagazine for the Academy of General Dentistry) featured an article titled: A More Osteopathic Approach: Osteopathic Medicine and Changes in the Dental Education Model. Dr. Smith is quoted several places throughout the piece.
Although the osteopathic medical approach has been ingrained in medicine since its inception, it has yet to become a common concept in general dentistry, according to Gerald Smith, DDS, of Buck County, PA, founder and president of the International Center for Nutritional Research, Inc. and a practitioner who focuses on craniomandibular somatic disorders. Dr. Smith believes that osteopathy is a natural fit for dentistry and the dental education model due to its preventive health approach.
According to Dr. Smith, many dentists understand the need for preventive care but have yet to make the leap to developing a more osteopathic diagnostic and treatment model. He believes that educating dental students will help to bring discussion and change to dentistry and lead to further integration between health care fields. "The connection is there, but many people weren't educated this way." he says. "However, most medical problems have ties to the mouth, and once you see that connection, it can be powerful stuff. A more osteopathic dental approach is the next major paradigm shift in the healing arts."
"Dentistry focuses not only on treatment but also on preventive health. Looking from a global perspective, for us it shouldn't be just about the teeth sitting in the jaw bone. If dental students are looking at the whole body connection, they will become much better diagnosticians," Dr. Smith says.