How unifying dental and medical care can advance health equity

The complete separation of the dental and medical health systems in the United States is not only anachronistic; it is also harmful for patients and frustrating for doctors and dentists. Consider, for example, that only about half of patients who come to the emergency room with a toothache end up seeing a dentist within six months, and more than a fifth return for the same problem.

Moreover, it creates and aggravates health inequities, as poor oral health has serious adverse effects on overall health. the january issue of AMA Journal of Ethics® (@JournalofEthics) explores inequalities along the medical-dental divide – in practice, in education, and in health policy – ​​focusing on practical and ethical strategies to better align goals of care.

Items include:

    1. The division between medical and dental care exacerbates health inequities and forces many people with limited access to seek oral health care in emergency departments.
    1. Despite the availability of good national oral health programs for medical trainees, most doctors are ill-equipped to identify oral cancers or avoid unnecessary referrals.

    1. A medical-dental schism of 1840 persists and prevents the integration of oral health into overall health, to the detriment of many patients.

    1. Training, service delivery, and funding occur separately in dentistry and general health care, which has influenced reimbursement structures, access to services, and outcomes.

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In the January newspaper “Ethics Talk” Podcast, Lisa Simon, MD, Fellow in Integrating Oral Health and Medicine at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, talks about her journey from dentistry to medicine. Marie Otto, author of Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America, gives a history of oral health care in the United States.

The January issue also includes five author interview podcasts. to listen previous episodes of the “Ethics Talk” podcast or subscribe to itunes or other services.

Those WADAEthics review CME modules are each designated by the AMA for a maximum of 1AMA PRA Category 1™ Credit:

In addition, the CME module “Ethics Talk: Why Oral Health Care Is What It Isis designated by WADA for a maximum of 0.5AMA PRA Category 1™ Credit.

The offerings are part of the AMA Ed Hub™, an online learning platform that brings together high-quality CME, certification maintenance, and educational content from trusted sources, all in one place, with activities relevant to you, automated tracking credits and reports for certain States and specialized commissions.

Learn more about AMA CME Accreditation.

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The editorial staff of the journal focuses on commentary and articles that offer practical advice and insights to medical students and physicians.Submit a manuscriptfor publication. The magazine tooinviteoriginal photographs, graphics, comics, drawings and paintings that explore the ethical dimensions of health or health care.

The next issues of theAMA Journal of Ethicswill focus on tactical health and law enforcement, moving towards abolition medicine and health equity in Latinx American communities.Registerto receive email alerts when new issues are published.