Volume 9 • 2022 • Issue 6

Other challenges that we face include a lack of rural/remote dental programs, which, if there were enough programs, could be a solution for the difficulty in recruiting and retaining the dental workforce in rural and remote areas. This requires an adequate budget from governments for operational costs and research in dental education. Evolution of dental education Dental education has been modernized to ensure students are trained with leading-edge technology, while our socially responsible curriculums adapt to the needs of the population and societal challenges. In the last two years, COVID-19 has changed our views on dental education and training. We have a greater awareness of students’ financial and mental health needs. We are now working within a new normal that could bring us more learning opportunities. I see in the next 5 to 10 years a shift toward inclusive dental education, where we become a community to address racism, stereotyping, and colonization. We will see a strong focus on EDI for the creation of inclusive places of learning. Social prescribing will be used in dental education to address the existing inequality in dental care. The focus on developing internal knowledge will switch to developing external and global knowledge, with a focus on digital health innovation and research. In turn, this will drive all dental medicine faculties to rethink their training and evaluation systems. School pride Founded in 1904, our dental faculty has a long and rich tradition of teaching, which is a source of inspiration and challenge for our faculty community. Today, the high quality of clinical training provided by experienced faculty and adaptability and resilience of students entering the program in the midst of the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic are both sources of great pride. Challenges As with many other areas of the labour market, the recruitment of high-calibre candidates for future teaching is certainly a significant challenge for many of Canada’s dental faculties. Distance education and the technological advances that are shaping the evolution of dental practice also present challenges. They require ongoing adaptation of dental education, often within a limited budget. Moreover, in a context of overall decrease in available research funds, it is a challenge to source funding for research and innovation, particularly in clinical research. In dentistry, as in all areas of health, our teaching and care will have to focus more on prevention and diagnosis rather than the traditional restorative approach. Evolution of dental education Dental education has grown more evidence-based, which translates into a stronger scientific component in clinical practice, and now includes the assessment of multi-disciplinary skills. Over the years, dental faculties have had to keep up with technological advances (e.g., digital impressions, 3D radiography, new materials) and acquire high-end equipment, while offering more online teaching. Thinking about and creating the dental education of the future requires adapting to our society’s changing demographics, economics, geography and technology. While accessibility to oral health care must remain a priority for our profession, we are all aware that we will have to take care of an aging Canadian population whose needs will not be the same as those of our seniors of 15 years ago. Furthermore, this evolution will inevitably involve greater integration of distance education, using educational innovations and digital technologies applied to the oral health care setting, such as 3D modeling. In dentistry, as in all areas of health, our teaching and care will have to focus more on prevention and diagnosis rather than the traditional restorative approach. It must also be based on an approach that promotes the overall health and well being of each individual, which is also part of a vision of sustainable development for the environment. In short, imagining the future of dentistry means adopting the integrated “one health” approach! Université de Montréal Dr. Michel Carrier, acting dean of Faculty of Dental Medicine CONTINUEDP. 28 27 Issue 6 | 2022 | Issues and People