Professor Cyril Thomas – Former SA Prosthodontist - Comment posted on 07/07/2007 on our previous Visitors' comment “As my experience and career in denture prosthodontics has progressed and I have had contacts with Denturists (Dental Prosthetists) and prosthetics in Australia and South Africa I have come to the realisation that Denturism has an important place as a Para-dental arm of Dentistry and its implementation should be supported wherever there is a need for it. My rationale is quite simple and is based on the changing nature of the dental curriculum both here in Australia and indeed worldwide, also in South Africa. Dental curricula have slowly but inexorably contained a de-emphasis on the technical component in favour of the biological basis of dentistry and there is no doubt that dental trainees are qualifying with fewer technical skills than was the case in the past and in fact are needed to meet the routine requirements of general practice. These do inevitably slowly build up but nowhere is it felt more strongly than in the training in denture prosthodontics where technical and clinical skills can only be acquired after many hours of laboratory and clinical hands-on time. The fact that denture prosthodontics is a science and an art and is in fact one of the most challenging branches of dental practice in which to succeed, brings the need into sharp focus. In my view therefore, a course devoted to specialising in denture prosthodontics must lead to a superior clinician in the Denturist than in the Dental graduate. There are of course limitations to the clinical scope of the Denturist, but an important aspect of the training would be to be aware of those limitations. When they are exceeded, the place of referral should be the specialist Prosthodontist who then does have the required skills, or to a GP Dentist known to have the relevant skills and these would be among the older and more experienced practitioners. I therefore fully support the introduction of Denturism in South Africa, not only because of the generally more satisfactory denture service it will provide at a basic level but also because it is more affordable for lower income clients and indeed for the state health budget from where the service may be funded or subsidised”.

Professor Thomas is the former Head of Dental Prosthetics, University of Stellenbosch, and former Deputy Dean & Head of Prosthetic Dentistry, of Sydney University and Director of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sydney, Australia.