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J Dent Educ. 2017 Aug;81(8):eS146-eS152. doi: 10.21815/JDE.017.021.

Estimating the Number of Dentists Needed in 2040.

Author information

1
Dr. Eklund is Professor Emeritus, School of Public Health and Adjunct Professor Emeritus, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan; and Dr. Bailit is Professor Emeritus, Department of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Connecticut. saeklund@umich.edu.
2
Dr. Eklund is Professor Emeritus, School of Public Health and Adjunct Professor Emeritus, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan; and Dr. Bailit is Professor Emeritus, Department of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Connecticut.

Abstract

Numerous factors that underlie the need for dentists are undergoing significant changes. Three factors are especially important: 1) improvements in oral health; 2) lower expenditures per patient per year, giving dentists the incentive to treat more patients to maintain incomes that justify their investment in dental education and practice; and 3) dental schools' producing new dentists at a faster rate than the growth in the population. If these trends continue, there is likely to be a dentist surplus of between 32% and 110% by 2040. A major challenge for dental schools is to adjust the production of dentists before 2040 and not wait for market forces to reduce the surplus. Whether there will be a painful market-based solution to the problem, as there was in the 1980s, or whether a more orderly path can be found is one of the key challenges of the project "Advancing Dental Education in the 21st Century," for which this article was written.

KEYWORDS:

dental care; dental schools; dentists; health expenditures; oral health

PMID:
28765466
DOI:
10.21815/JDE.017.021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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