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Dentistry is an inevitable and essential discipline of medical care. Every individual would require the assistance of a dentist at some point of time. In the current scenario of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, fear of viral transmission has been a major challenge for dental practitioners. The professional future of dentists though findsits silver lining in the field of ‘clinical research.’

‘BDS or Bachelor of Dental Surgery’ is one among popular professional degree courses in India. It covers a vast array of topics that include orthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, pediatric & geriatric dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and dental implants to name a few. In recent times, awareness of the quality of life has increased the scope of dentistry in yet another discipline called, ‘Clinical Dental Research.’ This discipline requires knowledge in clinical research to determine the safety and effectiveness of medications, devices, diagnostic products, and treatment regimens meant for human use.

Hurdles in Private Practice of Dentistry

Amid the COVID-19 situation, dentists having to deal with saliva, which is pivotal in the transmission of contagious pathogens such as the coronavirus has been of concern. Practicing stringent hygiene rules and being able to affordexpensive preventive gear is not easy.This apart, the other common hurdles faced during private practices include:

Common Concerns Hurdles Encountered
Expenses

Heavy expenses often encountered include:

  • Property lease or rent for clinic
  • Costs for dental supplies and equipment
  • Water and electricity costs
  • Lab fees and insurance fees
  • Employee wages
  • Taxes
  • Miscellaneous.
Practicing in Partnership Finding a trustworthy partner and ensuring sound legal formalities to avoid future disputes is tedious.
Time to Establish Good Practice Anywhere between 5 to 7 years to become a well-known private practitioner.
Availability of Personal Time Timings of practice may require availability between 10 am to 1 pm and 6 pm to 10pm leaving less time for personal attention and family.
Qualification Sometimes a BDS degree may seem insufficient and may demand masters/specialization, further increasing the investment in expenses and time.
A Sound Knowledge on Marketing Strategy In order to make your business well-known, for fixing up appointments or, in hiring people with experience, one needs to own awebsite, and advertise on social media platforms, in newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, boards, and hoardings.
Maintenance Measures Quality check on dental equipment, maintaining accounts and assessing profits, checking expiry dates of medicines, and providing upgraded sessions to staff is another essential parameter.
Location The location of the clinic plays a vital role in deciding the success or failure of the business. A poor location amounts to less visibility and may not attract clients.
The validity of certification for practice abroad If one happens to shift abroad, then the degree from India may not validate for immediate practice in some countries like in the US.

Why Clinical Dental Research is widening its horizon?

Clinical trials compare the treatment of dental diseases, product quality, and functioning of biomaterials required in treatment strategies. The following factors in clinical dental research have made it increasingly applicable to healthcare:

The overall trend is anincreased demand for trained and experienced dentists to take up the role of ‘clinical investigators’ in conducting these trials.

Advantages and Scope of Clinical Dental Research

Indian pharmaceutical market backed by clinical research is a soaring industry and is currently the second-largest in Asia! There is a high demand for trained professionals in this field with an impressive pay package at the entry-level itself, with preferable shift timings. Relevant certifications in clinical research can only enhance this amount! ‘Certification courses in clinical research’ impart the basic know-how necessary to build a career in the field. Considering the ongoing magnitude of clinical trials in dentistry, there is a massive demand for dental professionals with the potential to undertake the following roles in the clinical research field:

  • Principal Investigator (Leads the conduct of a clinical trial at a site)
  • Co-Investigator (Assists the principal investigator during a clinical trial)
  • Medical Advisor (Supports the clinical research team in various aspects such as training, communication of scientific information, etc.)
  • Drug Developer (Supports in bringing a new compound with proven therapeutic effects to the market)
  • Regulatory Affairs Manager (Responsible for ensuring that the organization adheres to applicable regulations)
  • Clinical Research Physician (Provides medical oversight for serious adverse event reporting, tracking and communication of safety issues to sponsors)
  • Medical Regulatory Writer (Assists in the production of the clinical documentation required by regulatory agencies)

The roles do not limit to the above. One has tremendous scope for growth and enhancing job profile from posts of ‘Clinical Research Coordinator’ to ‘Business Development Manager’ or, ‘Clinical Data Manager’. With sound knowledge in statistics, one can take over as a ‘Bio-statistician’ who can perform statistical programming, design, and analysis for clinical trial projects.

Practicing dentistry may be risky during thisCOVID-19 pandemic. Even slight negligence could prove costly in terms of disease spread. Clinical dental research carries the option of ‘teledentistry’ which conveniently reduces personal visits and travel time via live video streaming.

www.ctri.nic.in is the Clinical Trials Registry of India website set up by ICMR’s (Indian Council of Medical Research) National Institute of Medical Statistics which is a free online public record system where one can view all registered clinical trials conducted in India that include clinical dental trials as well.

www.clinicaltrials.gov is yet another website provided by the US National Library of Medicine which is a database of all privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted all around the world.

Conclusion

We now see that aspiring a career in dentistry may have set backs and face-to-face encounters with hard realities while establishing a regular practice. Decoding options in clinical research, in which India is currently the hub, is a promising trend that not only shapes your career but will also help you reach your goals with relative ease!

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