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The Truth Is In The Evidence

Uncover the truth in dental practice with Prof Dr Phrabhakaran Nambiar. Delve into evidence-based dentistry, exploring its principles, applications, and impact on patient care.

By Prof Dr Phrabhakaran Nambiar

Dental education is experiencing a profound metamorphosis, a dynamic journey propelled by the seamless integration of groundbreaking technologies and innovative teaching methodologies. In this era of transformation, the landscape of education is ablaze with challenges and milestones that breathe new life into traditional teaching and learning processes during the formative student years.

Malaysia’s current dental education programs stand at the crossroads of strengths and weaknesses, presenting a compelling opportunity for an influx of Malaysians into academic careers. Technological strides have cast a transformative spell on the delivery of dental education, enabling lecturers to extend their influence internationally. The pivotal changes in the curriculum and teaching methods echo a clarion call for the cultivation of critical thinking skills among students, heralding a new era in dental education.

At the heart of dental education lies a preparation for the practical facets of dentistry, with mentorship playing a pivotal role. Much like the meticulous approaches of the first forensic odontologist and Maxillofacial Radiologist, mentorship becomes the guiding force for current students and dentists to glean wisdom from experiences. The field has evolved significantly over time, witnessing milestones in case handling and innovative resolutions to dental imaging challenges. The future trajectory of dental education is poised to sculpt dentists as entrepreneurs, proficient in a spectrum of treatment procedures, from precise implant placements to addressing mild malocclusions with fixed appliances.

Anticipating future trends, dental education is gearing up to nurture dentists equipped with entrepreneurial prowess and diversified treatment skills. In alignment with shifts in healthcare, business management subjects may soon find their place within the curriculum. The indispensable skills for upcoming dentists include mastery in implant placement and adept handling of mild malocclusions with fixed appliances. The call is clear – undergraduate students should undergo comprehensive training in cutting-edge procedures, propelling them into the forefront of dental innovation.

In the world of oral and maxillofacial surgery, interdisciplinary collaboration emerges as the cornerstone, seamlessly bridging the historic gap between dentistry and medicine. The escalating need for collaboration with other healthcare professionals underscores its pivotal role in dental education. Dentists are encouraged to embrace a holistic approach, prioritizing individual patient needs over the confines of the oral cavity.

Professor Phraba, a stalwart in the field, passionately advocates for a global perspective in dental education, emphasizing the universality of best practices and approaches. The proposition to embrace a global outlook holds the promise of enhancing dental education by fostering a singular, universal practice and curriculum across all dental schools worldwide. Post-education, individuals adeptly navigate the dynamic landscape of dental practices and technologies through active participation in continuing dental education programs. Professor Phraba implores current dental students and professionals to remain steadfast in their commitment to learning, echoing the dynamic heartbeat of progress.

The evolution towards patient-centered care in dental education has been a journey since the hallowed halls of dental school graduation. It has nurtured a holistic approach among dentists nationwide, with strategies evolving to enrich the patient-doctor relationship in dental care. This involves active patient involvement in treatment decisions and the adoption of a comprehensive care approach, transforming the practice into a symphony of patient-focused excellence. The winds of change are blowing through dental education, propelling it into an era where passion, energy, and experience converge to shape the future of dentistry.

I have worked on so many high profile cases such as Tawau plane crash, MH17 crash and Canny Ong’s murder identification process. But the one and the first high profile case I got involved with was Highland Towers and it was my first major disaster as I was new to the industry. The MH17 case was interesting because that was the first time our information from the dental records were dechiphered and transcribed onto an Interpol software and sent to Netherlands.

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