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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 299-300
25 years of Indian dental research and future directions

Secretary General, Indian Society for Dental Resaearch, Director, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, 30, KB Dasan Road, Teynampet, Chennai - 18, India

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Date of Web Publication11-Oct-2012

How to cite this article:
Balaji S M. 25 years of Indian dental research and future directions. Indian J Dent Res 2012;23:299-300

How to cite this URL:
Balaji S M. 25 years of Indian dental research and future directions. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2012 [cited 2022 May 26];23:299-300. Available from:
The Indian dental circle is made of clinical practice, dental education, and research. Of this, dental clinical practice is strong with more than a lakh dentists in India. Dental education is most sought out with about 300 dental schools providing dental education for the aspiring dentists. India is ranked just 26 in the world in terms of total article production and is still low in terms of its impact. [1] The Indian dental research was almost in its infancy stage with only 132 publications involving 366 researchers between the years 1999 and 2003. [1] A big wave of change has been predicted from this time period. [2] In today's context, Indian research is done mainly in the form of postgraduate dissertation. The purpose of this exercise is to introduce the student to research environment and to inculcate the technique of writing a research paper. However, most of the dissertations have been done only for the sake of completing the course and nothing is done in respect to its follow-up or its publication. [3] It is from the year 2005 that the Indian dental research output has gathered momentum and more publications are being assimilated to India's credit. [2] Though the numbers of publication are in our favor, the quality has to be increased still further.

At the same time, at the juncture of our 25 th year celebrations, we shall be reminded of the firm commitment and vision of our ISDR founders, Dr. JG Kannappan, Dr. Rahmatulla, and Dr. PK Bhaskar, who had established the association to improve the status of Indian dental researchers. Since its inception, ISDR has been striving for more dental research output within possible realm.

At present, it is to be remembered that most of our publications are case reports while about 50% are various types of original research. [4] Only a small proportion of our studies are Indian experiences, [5] multidisciplinary research, [6] and outcome studies. [7] It is high time that India walks toward increasing the original research, especially in random control trials, prospective studies, and clinical translation studies. Though we have good numbers, it should be borne in mind that about 40-50% of articles have never been cited even in outstanding Indian dental journals. [8] An article that is never cited is as good as not published.

The focus of research needs to shift from basic epidemiology studies to immunologic/genomic/molecular studies. Such studies often require heavy funding for the infrastructural requirements. The cost of maintaining a research laboratory is very expensive that includes consumables like regular supply of molecular markers or biotechnology grade chemicals for such studies. [9] In the absence of these facilities, most of the institutions outsource the work or simply choose easier options. We can be a harbinger of change. We can help to identify able mentors, provide training and other options. However, this requires dedicated efforts of many people and sincere commitment from all stakeholders.

Attrition of well-trained and experienced dental teacher-scientist to lucrative private practice in the future may lead to unfilled positions for academic faculty in dental institutions. This would be a deterrent for young people seeking and entering careers in academic/research dentistry. To tackle this situation, dental schools may recruit and mentor most active, bright, as well as inquisitive students with good track records. Such students shall be encouraged to aspire for professional careers in dentistry other than clinical practice. They shall be provided with better educational options. The training motto for these students should be to convert them to educated dental leaders who in future shall explore, teach, mentor, and do research. Such trained people will drive the dental profession for betterment.

I am sure that in future, a rapid pragmatic shift could occur that would balance the triad of dental education, practice, and research. ISDR would need to be at the helm of affairs at that critical juncture. To enable this, all members need to work coordinately and effectively. I am sure the 25 th National ISDR would be a true catalyst for such a dynamic change.

   References Top

1.Gil-Montoya JA, Navarrete-Cortes J, Pulgar R, Santa S, Moya-Anegón F. World dental research production: An ISI database approach (1999- 2003). Eur J Oral Sci 2006;114:102-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Rooban T, Madan Kumar PD, Ramachandran S. Contribution of Indian dental research to the Scimago™ Database during 1996-2007: A preliminary report. Chron Young Sci 2010;1:16-21.  Back to cited text no. 2
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3.Sivapathasundaram B. Editorial. Indian J Dent Res 2005;16:130.  Back to cited text no. 3
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4.Poorni S, Ramachandran S, Rooban T, Madan Kumar PD. Contributions of Indian conservative dentists and endodontists to the Medline database during 1996-2009: A bibliometric analysis. J Conserv Dent 2010;13:169-72.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Balaji SM, Krishnaswamy NR, Kumar SM, Rooban T. Inferior alveolar nerve canal position among South Indians: A cone beam computed tomographic pilot study. Ann Maxillofac Surg 2012;2:51-5.  Back to cited text no. 5
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6.Balaji SM. Influence of third molars in Le Fort 1 osteotomy. Ann Maxillofac Surg 2011;1:136-44.  Back to cited text no. 6
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7.Balaji SM. Alveolar cleft defect closure with iliac bone graft, rhBMP-2 and rhBMP-2 with zygoma shavings: Comparative study. Ann Maxillofac Surg 2011;1:8-13.  Back to cited text no. 7
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8.Balaji SM. Increasing citations. Indian J Dent Res 2012;23:1.  Back to cited text no. 8
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
9.Dhanapal R. Genomic studies in the field of dentistry - an Indian scenario. J Genet Syndr Gene Ther 2012;3:e111.  Back to cited text no. 9

Correspondence Address:
S M Balaji
Secretary General, Indian Society for Dental Resaearch, Director, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, 30, KB Dasan Road, Teynampet, Chennai - 18
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-9290.102208

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