Gallagher and Moody wrote an article in 1981 Dentists and the Oral Health Behavior of Patients: A Sociological Perspective. They state:
Dentistry has long had an interest in the prevention of oral pathology, but without remarkable effect and without widespread professional consensus as to how this interest is to be implemented. [i]
Dentistry became an official profession in Canada in 1867. Society gave to dentistry the authority and professional autonomy to be the dominant profession in oral health care delivery. Dentistry views itself, as does much of society, as the profession that has control over professional oral care, the restoration and maintenance of the teeth and tissues in the mouth. Dentistry possesses power as expressed in the social organization of oral health care delivery, power they worked hard to establish.
The mouth, and the practices that surround the mouth, are ordinarily mundane and academically unexplored areas. However, the oral cavity provides an opportunity for sociologists to examine multiple processes. These various processes create the conditions for the possibility of reorganization of oral health care delivery. As networks of professions, consumers, bureaucrats, and politicians oscillate between the curative, medical treatment model and the preventive wellness model of health, new knowledge of oral health should emerge.
Examine the social landscape of oral health care, beyond the confines of the dental hygiene cubicle in the dental office to take a different perspective of the world of dentistry, oral care, and evolution of dental hygiene. The mouth, and its multiple processes often taken for granted, considered mundane topics provide opportunities for sociology researchers.
L McKeown July 2011 www.oralcare.ca
[i] Gallagher, E. B. Moody, P.M. (1981) Dentists and the Oral Health Behavior of Patients: A Sociological Perspective
Journal of Behavioral Medicine 4(3) 283-295.
[ii] Adams, T. L (2000) A Dentist and a Gentleman Toronto University Toronto Press p90
[iii] Nettleton, Sarah (1992) Power, Pain and Dentistry. Great Britain: St. Edmunsbury Press. p123-4
[iv] Adams, T. L (2000) A Dentist and a Gentleman Toronto: University Toronto Press p.122
[v] Gallagher & Moody (1981)p295