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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 651-652
Dental research: Present to future

Executive Editor, Indian Journal of Dental Research, Secretary General, ISDR/IADR India Division, Director, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication20-Feb-2014

How to cite this article:
Balaji S M. Dental research: Present to future. Indian J Dent Res 2013;24:651-2

How to cite this URL:
Balaji S M. Dental research: Present to future. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2013 [cited 2023 Jun 1];24:651-2. Available from:
Dental research has been gaining more and more importance. The reports of the connection of oral health to cardio-vascular system, renal, auto-immune disorder to developmental disturbance in fetuses including low birth weight has been increasing. [1],[2] The year 2013 saw further extension of the involvement of oral health in neurodegenerative disorders and cognitive abnormalities. [3] Dental stem cell research and tissue engineering is reaching its zenith. Hence it is high time to change the Indian public perception about Indian dentistry. Indian dentists need to emphasize that we are no longer restricted to practice of curing dental caries or treating gum disease. We need to sensitize the general public and medical community that the oral cavity is a highly complex entity that influences other vital systems including digestive, cardiovascular, respiratory, central nervous system and immunological systems. [1]

At the same time, our own fraternity has to recognize the fullest scope of dental research. The newer avenues of research in unique oral microbial ecology and mucosal immunity could help us vastly to accelerate vaccine development programs. More research in epigenetics, salivary proteomics and system biology of oral neoplasia would help us to understand the human cellular make-up better, leading to better health care delivery. [4] Research in Biomaterials, biomimetics as well as tissue engineering would give us a cutting edge advantage to create engineered living tissue, which perhaps in future, could completely replace grafts. [5] Moreover these would help us to focus and understand more about stem cells. Using the normal/diseased oral cells/tissues as models and markers of debilitating illness such as arthritis and calcified tissues defects makes complex research easier. The complex oral biome and genome research is expected to yield astonishing results in future. [4]

We need to understand that newer, constant developments in dental and basic research would make us a pioneer and key opinion leaders. Better financial support to such research is the need of the hour. This shall not be viewed as an "expense" rather considered as an "investment" considering the long-term benefits of the new discoveries and treatment that could emanate. Substantial amount of grants and funding need to be allocated to impart training to dental researchers in research methodologies, advanced techniques, research ethics. This would, in turn, infuse the flow of new knowledge in dental colleges, universities and research centers. Such sustained efforts would help to develop, spread and inculcate sense of scientific solidarity, intellectual freedom, parallel, "out of box" thinking which would fuel the growth and development of dental science and practice of dentistry.

To make this happen, all stake holders need to constructively and effectively interplay to: Keep informed of dental research happening all over the world. This only will happen when Indian dental researchers participate in large number in "happening congress" such as our International Association of Dental Research (IADR) and Indian Society for Dental Research (ISDR) meetings. Promote development of avenues, opportunities and enhance existing ones by clearing hurdles and facilitating public and private scientific endeavors; Increase the awareness of intellectual property rights and revenues raising out of such ventures; promote and facilitate "start-up" ventures; understand and continuously emphasize that basic research conducted in dental colleges are essential to industrial progress.

In future, when global communications shrink, without local research advancements, our dental - academia - industry - fraternity would stagnate, no longer creating stimulating jobs or products and on a longer run better services. All through our ISDR history, we have persevered, persistently developed (though at varying speeds), constantly proving our existence and underlying our importance as well as show-casing our determination and holding high the goals of our very existence.

With India being one of the few divisions in IADR, we are now exposed and responsible in another front in oral health delivery and management. This is also vital to future research and science. It is high time we assert our rights to be independent yet exist in a symbiotic relationship with the large medical community as well as those of the advanced dental research community. We need to focus on our local dental issues, try to use inherent strengths, eliminate our geo-political-cultural weakness as well develop a sustaining vibrant Indian Dental Research community. If we wish to continuously contribute to global dental research, it is imperative that we make our move now.

   References Top

1.Garcia RI, Henshaw MM, Krall EA. Relationship between periodontal disease and systemic health. Periodontol 2000 2001;25:21-36.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Meurman JH, Sanz M, Janket SJ. Oral health, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease. Crit Rev Oral Biol Med 2004;15:403-13.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Stewart R, Weyant RJ, Garcia ME, Harris T, Launer LJ, Satterfield S, et al. Adverse oral health and cognitive decline: The health, aging and body composition study. J Am Geriatr Soc 2013;61:177-84.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Gareau B. A plea for a dental research institute. J Can Dent Assoc 1999;65:392-3.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Sándor GK. Tissue engineering: Propagating the wave of change. Ann Maxillofac Surg 2013;3:1-2.  Back to cited text no. 5

Correspondence Address:
S M Balaji
Executive Editor, Indian Journal of Dental Research, Secretary General, ISDR/IADR India Division, Director, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-9290.127602

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