DENTAL RESEARCH IN INDIAIn India by 2020 it is estimated that there will be more than one lakh dentists.India has around 340 dental colleges out of which maximum are in the private sector and very few are in the government sector. Every year more than 35,000 dental graduates are added. The large number of postgraduate students actively doing their dissertations and undergraduate students doing short research projects makes India a challenging research powerhouse.1, 2,Currently in Indian dentistry, there is a remarkable progress due to the development of newer technologies with regard to dental equipment, materials, pharmacological products and diagnostic materials.
The research status in India, when compared to the other countries remains only on paper and publications. Research that remains restricted to the laboratory is not beneficial to the public and patients in particular it has no clinical significance. Though there is enough number of funding agencies available in India, only a small number of dental professionals opt for full-time research career.
In postgraduate program, dissertation is a requirement for appearing in university examinations. The main purpose of the dissertation is to expose the postgraduate students to the research environment. The BDS course is spread over four years after the exclusion of the one-year internship, basics of research can be introduced in the undergraduate curriculum itself, which will be useful when expanded as dissertation in post-graduation program. Introduction of PhD program is mandatory in the current situation, as it helps the dental professions to pursue full-time research career.3The need of the hour is to provide thorough training in research and also provide facilities to do research so as to improve the quality of treatment, improve the professional contentment of the faculty and the betterment of clinical dentistry. The administrative overload is the most common barrier in the Institute and Department for undertaking research work.
The administrative burden is so complicated that research work takes back seat. This could be attributed to the fact that faculty and postgraduates are expected to work for inspections, National Assessment and Accreditation Council accreditation, University Grants Commission recognition, and the usual administrative work for the college round the clock, hence, the research work suffers. A significant factor which can encourage or hamper their search work is finance. The faculty members should be encouraged by providing funds and infrastructure for research. For clinical trials, clinical research of materials and equipment, and fieldwork, necessary funds are required. In an Indian scenario, where Post graduate students are overburdened by the indebtedness of educational loans and minimal salaries of staff make the research work a further burden to their ailing financial status.
This situation is complicated by no funding from the institutes and lack of experience and training for writing grants. The researcher needs sabbaticals from commencement to completion of research projects and publishing the new discoveries, as a relief from teaching and administrative duties. Sabbaticals are mandatory for the personal and professional growth of the individual, but till date no such rules exist in any of the dental institutions in India, neither private nor government. The Dental council of India has not provided any guidelines regarding sabbaticals.
If the researcher has to go for research work, they have to use their available leaves or with the loss of pay. This is a significant barrier for dental research in India.Another important barrier is what the Indian researchers and authors think about the journal editorial boards. It is not that journal advisory boards are unfair to Indian authors, but they expect a better quality of research and its reporting. The quality of scientific work and research in terms of study design, methodology and clinical trials has to be up to the current developments. This barrier has to be overcome by the utilization of the available newer materials, equipment and adequate training in research methodology.
Lack of record keeping and documentation is a major hurdle in Indian scenario. This could be attributed to the fact that presently there are no research jobs in Indian dental institutions and there is necessity that human resource department should have trained dental research assistants and data analysts in the research team. This could be achieved by framing guidelines for research from the dental council of India and to train Indian dentists to keep documents, records and emphasize it by making it mandatory by law4.In conclusion, the future generation of dental faculty has to explore solutions for these inadequacies and barriers and also change the culture of dental college training into research supportive environmentReferences:1. Kohli A. Dental research in India: Challenges and opportunities.
J Dent Res Rev 2015; 2:612. Sivapathasundharam B. Research career in dentistry. Indian J Dent Res. 2009; 20:255.
3. Balaji SM. Dental research: Present to future. Indian J Dent Res. 2013; 24:651–24.
Kundendu Arya Bishen, Kumar Gaurav Chhabra, Shitalkumar Sagari, Puneet GuptaJ Pharm Bio allied Sci. 2015; 7(3): 201–206.Dr.R.Saravana kumar,MDS,MS,MBA,PGDMLE.Principal,Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental SciencesPuducherry -607402