Oral Oncology (2004) 40, 1059
BOOK REVIEW Oral Anatomy, Histology and Embryology. Berkovitz, B.K.B., Holland, G.R., Moxham, B.J., third ed., Mosby, ISBN 0-7234-3181-7, £44.99 This is the third edition of a book familiar to several generations of dental students and postgraduates which has established itself as a core text in dental libraries worldwide. The authors are leaders in their fields and bring together many years of teaching experience, both in the UK and North America. Not surprisingly, therefore, the book is well written, comprehensively illustrated and authoritative. There have been some changes and the new edition has moved away from the style of a colour atlas to become more of a traditional text. The early chapters provide a readily accessible source material on the macroscopic anatomy of the peri-oral structures together with a comprehensive account of the morphology of individual teeth. There are useful structure–function correlations, for example, in the description of speech or swallowing. Subsequent chapters deal with the descriptive histology of the dental tissues and it is here that the real strength of the book lies. The authors have, in my view correctly, taken a traditional approach emphasising descriptive histology, possibly at the expense of contemporary molecular biology. Nevertheless, they have acknowledged recent advances in this latter area and placed these in context, providing an overview, and making use of material generously provided by specialists such as Irma Thesleff and Paul Sharpe. The concluding chapters focus on the embryology of the teeth and jaws. Again the approach is traditional with an emphasis on the descriptive embryology of dental and oral development.
No book can have everything and I was left slightly confused about what the authors sought to achieve with this one. Are they allowing it to evolve into a reference work or do they wish it to remain as a core student text? I sincerely hope the latter and, with this in mind, I have a gentle comment. There is a current trend away from traditional subject teaching in favour of an integrated, problem based approach to learning which requires greater independence on the part of the student. It may not always be obvious, particularly to those in the early stages of their training, how essential basic material may be applied to practical situations. The authors have gone some way to presenting traditional Oral Biology in a clinical context but in several areas it would be helpful if these could be developed further and emphasised. In conclusion, this is a good book, en-route to becoming a classic text in Oral Biology. It has a great deal to offer the undergraduate, the recent graduate preparing for postgraduate examinations and the established practitioner seeking a reference work. It will also be of value to researchers from other disciplines seeking an account of the descriptive histology of the dental tissues. Furthermore, in its paperback format it is inexpensive and represents great value for money. At the end of the day deeds speak louder than words and I had actually purchased a copy before being asked to write this review, a decision I do not regret. Jon Bennett Eastman Dental Institute University College of London 256 Gray’s Inn Road London, UK Tel.: +44 171 915 1055; fax: +44 171 915 1213 E-mail address: [email protected]