A couple of years ago, one of the dentists whom I shadowed showed me an article on AGD Impact entitled, "Is General Dentistry Dead?" It talked about the possible fate of general dentists, stating that "Many fear that dentistry, the first specialty of medicine but also its historical outcast, is finally going the way of primary care medicine, poised to sink with a sigh into a mire of competing providers." With hygienist and physician's assistant advocating groups actively lobbying for the right to perform more procedures, there seems to be concerns about increasing competition further saturating metropolitan areas and not necessarily resolving the issue of access to care as we would hope for with greater # of providers. This thought took a back seat for awhile until a professor/dentist at a school I interviewed at recently talked about something that made me start thinking about this again. I learned that Dental therapists (DT) are trained to perform a number of procedures that historically a GP would do, and DTs could become the way of primary care in the near future. It was mentioned that one of the goals is to increase the # of DT's to provide care at rural areas to address the issue of access and affordability of dental care. Whether or not future DT's would follow through with providing care in rural areas is uncertain. If there isn't a formal way of enforcing this (like a contractual agreement), I would imagine, candidates will have to be assessed very carefully: Where do they currently live? Where do they want to live? What about the candidate suggest that they prefer a life in rural areas? Between the opinions of the article, the dentist, the dental professor and among other sources, there appears to be a common query: with various groups of dental professionals (hygienists & dental therapists) on the rise to performing much of what GP's can do, with a decline in baby boomer population over time (and those who tend to need greater dental care), with improved education and prevention options, and with future generations becoming more knowledgeable and responsible in taking care of their oral health, are these professionals I've spoken with over the years predicting what is to come for the future of general dentists in the next several decades? Will private practice for dentistry become the thing of the past as seen in medicine? Will the shift in the roles of hygienists, DTs, PAs, and nurses make generalists and family practice a rarity and having specialists a thing of the future? Is this necessarily a bad thing? This may be controversial but I'm very interested in hearing what current and future dentists and all of SDN community have to say on this topic. I welcome all opinions biased or not. I would appreciate that we all be courteous and respect one another's opinions. Thank you for your time!