In 2016, the Canadian Dental Association Board of Directors commissioned an independent National Advisory Task Force to – “consider changes that will affect our profession and indeed society as a whole in the coming 15 years”. The chair of the committee, Dr. Alastair Nicoll, referred to it as “a call to action for the Canadian Dental Profession, as a whole.”, as well as a compelling prognostication, if not challenge – “what got us here will not get us there”.

The report (Canadian Dentistry – 2032) was presented in April 2018 at the Dentistry Leaders Forum in Ottawa. While it exists online, it has a seemingly inconsistent level of visibility, or awareness at the local level.  

Nevertheless, it does represent a unique and expansive effort to capture current and emerging trends, distilling them into four ‘Vision Statements’, with specific implications and recommendations for both industry and dental professionals.

From a strategic perspective, proposing to re-define oral health to better reflect the linkage with systemic health provides the reports foundation for the ‘visions’ associated with dentistry’s role and reputation, leadership initiatives, societal and ethical considerations, learning gaps, technology advancements and a robust array of ideas, tactics and proposed action items.

On a more non-clinical level, it urges professionals to broaden their traditional portfolio of technical skills to include more effective levels of communication, collaboration and inter-personal capabilities. With some degree of emphasis, these ‘softer’ attributes are being positioned as a major differentiator between ‘success and failure’.

So, having spent four decades, observing and being affected by both gradual, as well as seismic shifts (technology, science, behavioural, economic, etc.), the one constant; the one inescapable reality, is that the status quo has never been a particularly wise option, especially if your planning your future – 15 years out.

So, if you haven’t come across this body of work, it may well be worth a read, if only to reflect on your own future state. Enjoy.

Mark Pigott – CEO Schell Dental (250) 317-7795