Indian Journal of Dental Research

: 2017  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 353-

From research to practice

William Wai Man Cheung 
 Private Practice, Hong Kong, China; Member, Education Committee, FDI World Dental Federation, Geneva, Switzerland

Correspondence Address:
William Wai Man Cheung
Private Practice, Hong Kong, China; Member, Education Committee, FDI World Dental Federation, Geneva, Switzerland

How to cite this article:
Cheung WW. From research to practice.Indian J Dent Res 2017;28:353-353

How to cite this URL:
Cheung WW. From research to practice. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 Sep 18 ];28:353-353
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I became a dentist in 1981. During the course of dental education, I along with many of my classmates was excited about learning everything we need to know about dentistry in 4 years. Little did we know that graduation from dental school after 4 years was not the end of our learning experience; it was just the beginning because new techniques, new instruments, and new materials are being developed constantly!

Take endodontic treatment for example. Thirty-five years ago, we learned to clean and shape the canals using the “step-back” technique starting from the root apex and worked our way up toward the coronal aspect of the tooth. Today, we teach cleaning and shaping using the “crown-down” technique starting with widening the coronal aspect and work our way down toward the apices. This way we can have better “straight-line” access to the canals and avoid perforation and transportation of apices. Furthermore, the development of nickel–titanium and rotary instruments helps to facilitate cleaning and shaping more efficiently with far less incidence of perforation and transportation of apices.

Adhesive dentistry is another example of breakthrough discoveries over the years. When I went to dental school in the 70s, amalgam was the material of choice, especially when it comes to direct posterior restorations. We were just starting to use the tooth-colored filling materials with adhesives, but long-term success and esthetics were both not very predictable. After over three decades of research and development, we have gone through seven generations of adhesive materials so that we now have much stronger and better-looking materials that we can offer to our patients with better long-term results.

I was enrolled in a General Practice Residency Program after I graduated and my research thesis was a review of implant dentistry. We were just at the starting line at that time. Today, implant is a very predictable alternative to tooth replacement; in fact, in some instances, it is the preferred alternative to tooth replacement. We can never imagine the amount of resources that have been invested into research and development of the most ideal implant material, implant surface, implant design, and surgical technique so that proper integration can take place after surgical placement.

I can offer examples of every discipline in dentistry where research plays a pivotal role in the development of techniques, materials, etc., for clinical practice. Much attention is now put into the areas of stem cell research and tissue regeneration as well as digital dentistry. As clinicians, we are responsible to follow closely the latest development from research through journals, continuing education meetings and congresses, etc. This is our commitment to the profession and to our patients. In the end, we as clinicians can offer better service to our patients and patients enjoy the benefits of long-term success from treatments. This is the ultimate objective of translating research into clinical practice!