Journal of Dentistry and Oral Care
Millennials and the Future of Dentistry
White, G.E. Millennials and the Future of Dentistry. (2017) J Dent Oral Care 3(1): 1- 4.
© 2017 White, G.E. This is an Open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Millennials are a larger population with a very different in attitude, than Baby Boomers and should have a greater impact than Baby Boomers on the traditional American society and dentistry in particular. There are many reasons for their altered attitude, one of which is their brains have changed morphologically from the excess digital screen time at moment when the frontal lobes were maturing. They will be very good in a dental office with computers, CAD/CAM, robots, internet and internet-of-everything, but will have difficulty with thinking about complex problems, e.g. the complex medical problems of the aging population and how it affects dentistry and how dental diseases are affecting systemic health of the patient. Dental treatment is becoming more complex because of the aging population with more systemic illnesses that uses more pharmaceuticals and requires more understanding on the part of the practitioner. They are more sophisticated and value oriented than the in past. This complex medical understanding is further complicated with recent developments that describe the relationships of periodontal disease and dental caries to being related to systemic disease. To deliver high quality value oriented treatment requires digital dental equipment and the talents of the Millennials, however, they do not like to think about complex diagnostic medical and dental problems. For a variety of reasons dentistry may be at a turning point where it will be necessary to train some dentists to behave more like technicians of digital equipment, while others should be trained more like internal medicine physicians. The systemic illness aspect of dentistry and the more complicated medical problems of our population may require more education than is currently provided in most dental educational settings, while at the same time traditional dental education is simplifying and reducing clinical experiences. This may provide a separation of dental care providers into 1. “Dentist-physician”, who is relationship based with patients/clients and global thinking minded, and 2. “dentist-technician” who is non relationship based and shallow thinking minded using more computers and robotics to perform dentistry. The analogy in the medical field would be in the arena of eye care; ophthalmologist (MD) and optometrist (O.D). Dentists who train for oral surgery frequently also get a MD degree. Why not have dentists-physicians trained in internal medicine? This would be a conventional way to bridge this area of dental disease causing systemic illness and the aging population with complicated medical conditions and dental treatment.