I don’t understand why it is that dentistry is separate from all the other medical specialties. By separate I mean dentists do a different course at university, they gain a different qualification, they don’t get the title “Dr”, dentistry isn’t normally practiced in hospital and isn’t normally available on the NHS (in the UK). Why isn’t dentistry just another medical specialty like urology, nephrology etc?
Best Answer: Good question, and in recent years there has been some discussion in the UK about making dentistry a medical specialty. There is already a medical specialty called maxillo-facial surgery where the practitioner has to be both a registered dentist and a registered medical practitioner. Dentistry is practised in hospitals - it's just that as in medical general practice most people don't need that level of care and treatment.The NHS argument is misleading (although dentistry is available on the NHS either free or subsidised) as that's about how dentists (technically general dental practitioners) are paid by the government, rather than anything to do with their training or qualifications. The answer is that dentistry and medicine were already well established as separate professions before the medical profession began to develop specialties as we know them today. This was reflected in the way the UK began to regulate the professions (General Medical Council for doctors, General Dental Council for dentists) , and this has persisted. My guess would be that if we were starting from scratch today dentistry would be one of the medical specialties. However the history and the fact that dentistry would probably be swallowed up by the bigger profession means that they will probably stay separate.