Dental Medicine Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Competencies for the New General Dentist

(Adopted from the American Dental Education Association)

(Journal of Dental Education July 2011)

The general dentist is the primary oral health care provider supported by dental specialists, allied dental professionals, and other health care providers.  The practice of general dentistry requires a dentist to possess the ability to incorporate understanding, skills and values in an integrated response to clinical and other professional situations.  The competency statements describe the performance of the University of New England College of Dental Medicine graduates as they enter dental practice settings rather than that of students in individual courses.  This document is viewed by the College as dynamic, as the practice of dentistry evolves, the College will revisit its competence. 

1. Critical Thinking
2. Professionalism
3. Communication and Interpersonal Skills
4. Health Promotion
5. Practice Management and Informatics
6. Patient Care
          a. Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
          b. Establishment and Maintenance of Oral Health

1. Critical Thinking

Graduates must be competent to:

1.1. Evaluate and integrate emerging trends in health care as appropriate.
1.2. Utilize critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
1.3. Evaluate and integrate best research outcomes with clinical expertise and patient values for evidence-based practice.

2. Professionalism
Graduates must be competent to:

2.1. Apply ethical and legal standards in the provision of dental care.
2.2. Practice within one’s scope of competence and consult with or refer to professional colleagues when indicated.

3. Communication and Interpersonal Skills
Graduates must be competent to:

3.1. Apply appropriate interpersonal and communication skills.
3.2. Apply psychosocial and behavior principles in patient-centered health care.
3.3. Communicate effectively with individuals from diverse populations.

4. Health Promotion
Graduates must be competent to:

4.1. Provide prevention, intervention, and educational strategies.
4.2. Participate with dental team members and other health care professionals in the management and health promotion for all patients.
4.3. Recognize and appreciate the need to contribute to the improvement of oral health beyond those served in traditional practice settings.

5. Practice Management and Informatics
Graduates must be competent to:

5.1. Evaluate and apply contemporary and emerging information including clinical and practice management technology resources.
5.2. Evaluate and manage current models of oral health care management and delivery.
5.3. Apply principles of risk management, including informed consent and appropriate record keeping in patient care.
5.4. Demonstrate effective business, financial management, and human resource skills.
5.5. Apply quality assurance, assessment, and improvement concepts.
5.6. Comply with local, state and federal regulations including OSHA and HIPAA.
5.7. Develop a catastrophe preparedness plan for the dental practice.

6. Patient Care

A. Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning
Graduates must be competent to:

6.1. Manage the oral health care of the infant, child, adolescent, and adult, as well as the unique needs of women, geriatric, and special needs patients.
6.2. Prevent, identify, and manage trauma, oral diseases and other disorders.
6.3. Obtain and interpret patient/medical data, including a thorough intra/extra oral examination, and use these findings to accurately assess and manage all patients.
6.4. Select, obtain, and interpret diagnostic images for the individual patient.
6.5. Recognize the manifestations of systemic disease and how the disease and its management may affect the delivery of dental care.
6.6. Formulate a comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and / or referral plan for the management of patients.

B.  Establishment and Maintenance of Oral Health
Graduates must be competent to:

6.7. Utilize universal infection control guidelines for all clinical procedures.
6.8. Prevent, diagnose, and manage pain and anxiety in the dental patient.
6.9. Prevent, diagnose, and manage temporomandibular disorders.
6.10. Prevent, diagnose and manage periodontal diseases.
6.11. Develop and implement strategies for the clinical assessment and management of caries.
6.12. Manage restorative procedures that preserve tooth structure, replace missing or defective tooth structure, maintain function, are esthetic, and promote soft and hard tissue health.
6.13. Diagnose and manage developmental or acquired occlusal abnormalities.
6.14. Manage the replacement of teeth for the partially or completely edentulous patient.
6.15. Diagnose, identify, and manage pulpal and periradicular diseases.
6.16. Diagnose and manage oral surgical treatment needs.
6.17. Prevent, recognize, and manage medical and dental emergencies.
6.18. Recognize and manage patient abuse and/or neglect.
6.19. Recognize and manage substance abuse.
6.20. Evaluate outcomes of comprehensive dental care.
6.21. Diagnose, identify, and manage oral mucosal and osseous diseases.

Glossary of Terms

Competency: a complex behavior or ability essential for the general dentist to begin independent, unsupervised dental practice; it assumes that all behaviors and skills are performed with a degree of quality consistent with patient well-being and that the general dentist can self-evaluate treatment effectiveness.

Critical thinking: the process of assimilating and analyzing information; this encompasses an interest in finding new solutions, a curiosity with an ability to admit to a lack of understanding, a willingness to examine beliefs and assumptions and to search for evidence to support these beliefs and assumptions, and the ability to distinguish between fact and opinion.

Curriculum guidelines (content): the relevant and fundamental information that is taught for each category of foundation knowledge; these are to be used as curriculum development aids and should not be construed as recommendations for restrictive requirements.

Domain: a broad, critical category of activity for the general dentist.

Emerging technologies: current and future technologies used in patient care, including technology for biomedical information storage and retrieval, clinical care information, and technologies for use at the point of care.

Evidence-based dentistry: an approach to oral health care that requires the judicious integration of systematic assessments of clinically relevant scientific evidence relating to the patient’s oral and medical condition and history integrated with the dentist’s clinical expertise and the patient’s treatment needs and preferences.

Foundation knowledge and skills: the basic essential knowledge and skills linked to and necessary to support a given competency; these would serve to help guide curriculum in dental schools, assist educators in removing irrelevant, archaic information from current curricula, aid in including important new information, and help test construction committees develop examinations based upon generally accepted, contemporary information.

General dentist: the primary dental care provider for patients in all age groups who is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management, and overall coordination of services related to patients’ oral health needs.

Health promotion: public health actions to protect or improve oral health and promote oral well-being through behavioral, educational, and enabling socioeconomic, legal, fiscal, environmental, and social measures; it involves the process of enabling individuals and communities to increase control over the determinants of health and thereby improve their health; includes education of the public to prevent chronic oral disease.

Informatics: applications associated with information¬ and technology used in health care delivery; the data and knowledge needed for problem-solving and decision making; and the administration and man-management of information and technology in support of patient care, education, and research.

Interprofessional health care: the delivery of health care by a variety of health care practitioners in a cooperative, collaborative, and integrative manner to ensure care is continuous and reliable.

Management: includes all actions performed by a health care provider that are designed to alter the course of a patient’s condition; such actions may include providing education, advice, treatment by the general dentist, treatment by the general dentist after consultation with another health care professional, referral of a patient to another health care professional, and monitoring the treatment provided; it may also include providing no treatment or observation.

Patient-centered care: the ability to identify, respect, and care about patients’ differences, values, preferences, and expressed needs; relieve pain and suffering; coordinate continuous care; listen to, clearly inform, communicate with, and educate patients; share decision making and management; and continuously advocate disease prevention, wellness, and promotion of healthy lifestyles, including a focus on population health.

Problem-solving: the process of answering a question or achieving a goal when the path or answer is not immediately obvious, using an acceptable heuristic or strategy such as the scientific method.

Special needs care: an approach to oral health management tailored to the individual needs of people with a variety of medical conditions or physical and mental limitations that require more than routine delivery of oral care; special care encompasses preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services.