April 2008, Volume 4, Issue 4
Published by AEGIS Communications
From the Editor
From time to time, seemingly benign topics can elicit strong emotions from individuals when they become passionate about issues that are important to them. Advanced education and life-long learning in dentistry are such subjects, especially when different types of educators begin to take sides against one another.
This month the Inside Dentistry cover feature presentation examines what the driving forces are behind different types of education and learning opportunities in the dental profession. Some of these may take place in a traditional setting (ie, dental schools), while others may take place at private institutes, whether well-respected or equated with charlatans. Some of them take place at annual dental organization meetings with support from dental product manufacturers, while others are blatantly exclusive manufacturer-sponsored events.
Attendees, Beware. Some of the instruction—seminars, private institutes, symposium, hands-on certification programs—is useful and beneficial to the dental professionals who attend those courses, programs, or sessions. They’re taught by individuals with a wealth and breadth of experience, not what some may consider to be limited, specially cultivated styles of teaching. Other programs may be deemed nothing more than systematic, self-serving agendas of eventsand requirements.
You Must Judge for Yourself, But Ask Around. It’s not the intent of the staff or publishers of Inside Dentistry to determine which is which. Rather, we’ve presented information in this issue about, and examples of, the types of learning and education opportunities that dental professionals may encounter as they look to satisfy their life-long learning needs. We’ve also suggested some criteria that may be helpful when judging for one’s self what programs are valid, scientifically based, accredited, and worth participating in. We’ve also explained what different terms mean and entail. I also encourage you to evaluate the history of the individual or institute whose programs you are attending. Do they have a good track record, or have they been responsible for teaching many of the techniques that have resulted in significant failures in our profession? I show a slide of six major failures that have occurred over the past 20 years. All were taught in CE programs, and most should have been avoided had the lecturers based their decisions onscientifically available evidence rather than on manufacturer’s information.
It’s Not All Good or Bad. For this reason, I encourage you to read our cover feature and its related sidebars so that you can better evaluate for yourself exactly who’s behind the podium the next time you’re considering attending an advanced or continuing education or learning experience. Manufacturer support does not necessarily corrupt the validity of the information that’s being presented. Full disclosure of commercial support or potential conflict of interest likewise does not guarantee a worthwhile and meaningful instructional experience that lives up to the attendees’ expectations. The more you know about the education opportunities that are available to you, the more you can gain from those opportunities that you wish to pursue.
We hope you enjoy this issue and find that it enhances your ability to examine and evaluate different learning and education opportunities, whether they be 1- or 2-day seminars at dental schools, 3-hour lectures at annual conferences, or hands-on symposia at private institutes. We also hope that it enables you to better weigh your options when itcomes to your choices. Please send us your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. As I emphasize each month, your thoughts, opinions, and reactions motivate us to continually improve our clinical content and coverage of the topics impacting our profession. Thank you for reading and for your continued support.
With warm regards,