Modern health care requires caring, competent primary care providers who place patient welfare above all other considerations. In dentistry, the General Dentist fulfills that role. The traditional term, “Attending Doctor” indicates such a doctor / patient relationship, and signifies the philosophy of the Department that the general dentist is responsible for leading diagnostic, treatment planning, and therapeutic endeavors for all patients under his or her care.
The nine dental specialties support general attending dentists by providing expert care for those patients whose diagnostic or treatment needs demand advanced levels of skill and expertise. It is the responsibility of the general dentist to lead the referral team and constantly insure that the best interests of the patient are met.
The College’s definition of comprehensive patient care is: “a system of clinical instruction and operation which allows the student to provide or be responsible for all aspects of a given patient’s treatment needs in a manner that closely resembles the way the student will provide care in private practice after graduation.”
The most important features of the Department’s programs are the patient-centered philosophy, the constant emphasis on professionalism, and achieving fundamental competencies in both clinical and behavioral endeavors.
The term “competency” then, is a threshold outcome of clinical training and experience that denotes the ability and willingness to practice dentistry consistently and independently at acceptable levels of performance. Such performance has the following characteristics: