Saturday 16 May 2015

Why do an MDS?

BDS graduates in India face a unique dilemma. Not so unique though because it has already been faced by MBBS graduates. A bachelor of dental surgery is supposed to be a general dentist. A dentist who can take care of routine dental procedures like fillings, extractions, scaling and dentures. But, sadly the value is being eroded away at a fast pace. Now fresher dental graduates are considered good-for-nothing-quacks. Yes, they are considered to be inept and their education is considered inefficient.

This is largely true in urban cases. The BDS degree still holds some merit in smaller towns but, going by the history of the once coveted MBBS degree, the dignity of the profession is on the decline. Soon, in smaller towns too, you would be called 'just a BDS' instead of a general dental practitioner.

The fault largely lies with the 'competition gene' firmly imbibed in our DNA. We need to rank and file things. We do not care much about the actual essence of things but their effects on the society. Nobody gives two hoots about the job description of an IAS officer but, we know that the job entails free government bungalow and car plus truckloads of raw masculine power. Similarly, we do not care what an MDS means but in our little minds, it is somehow superior to BDS and hence must be preferred.

The roots of this general mental retardation of society as a whole can be reflecting our television serials with dumbed down plots, our cinema with mindless entertainers and everything else. Somehow, the smartest nation on Earth has managed to become the dumbest.

No one quite understands that an MDS (Master of Dental Surgery) is a specialist. His practice specializes in a particular field of dentistry. He doesn't become superior to a BDS. He becomes good at a particular thing at the cost of not being so good at general things (usually). So, a general dental practitioner is needed. He is the link between specialists and the public. He is the one takes care of minor, uncomplicated cases so that the MDS can focus on special, complex cases if he wishes to.

A BDS is essentially a healthcare provider with a broader approach. An experienced BDS can even manage complicated cases provided he keeps himself up-to-date with the latest knowledge and keeps broadening his horizons.

But, that BDS will soon be extinct. A society runs on reward systems. If you the reward from being a general dentist, everyone will start doing MDS. Then there will be no general practitioners in theory as everyone will be a specialist of something. Of course it will be only theoretical because practically, everyone will be doing general practice despite doing an MDS.

That is not a catastrophic situation for the society. It will get its doctors. The only thing that will suffer is ethics and academics. These two anyway make the slightest of whispers before dying out. So, they will die and no one will notice. Just like we buried MBBS, we will bury BDS six feet under and carry on with our lives.

Soon, people will do BDS to do MDS and then be able to earn money. Nobody will ask what subject did you have in your MDS because MDS will just stand for 'a good dentist' while BDS will stand for 'a half-baked dentist' in India. Meanwhile in America, where the science of dentistry has flourished, the highest paid profession is dentists and most of them are general practitioners- DDS (an equivalent of the meek Indian BDS).

This post is not a call to action because I am sure things are not going to change with just one blogpost. It is just my weltanschauung.

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