Is the current number of grads per year unsustainable for the future of dentistry?

lwergod

2+ Year Member
Sep 27, 2017
301
203
Status
Pre-Dental
from 1990 to 2010, the number of grads increased from ~4000 to ~5000. From 2010 to the number of grads/year increased from ~5000 to ~6400.

so from 1990 to 2010, the # of grads/year increased by ~25% over 20 years. In the second 10 year interval the number of grads/year increased by %28.

compare that to population growth in the US, from 1990 to 2010 the population increased from ~250m to ~310m or a 24% increase over 20 years.

and from 2010 to 2020, the population increased from ~310m to ~330m or a 7% increase over 10 years.


In medicine, the number of incoming practicing physicians is not bottlenecked by the number of schools, but rather the number of residencies. The government has not increased number of residencies that much in the last two decades.

is it time to make GPR/AEGD residencies to become mandatory?


Also am I the only one who's noticed that all these new schools are from these "Doctor of Osteopathic Medical" schools? Lecom, AT still, MWU, Western, Roseman, Touro, New England. The avg gpa and dat for these colleges are very sub par too. like a 3.25 oGPA and 18.5 aa.

Why TF are these DO institutions allowed to gain accreditation by the ADA? and with more DO institutions popping up everywhere, will the ADA accredit more of these sketchy private "non-profit" institutions?


just look at how fast the ratio of dentists to population has plummeted in the last decade.

 
Apr 21, 2019
570
832


Hell yes! Based on these 2 studies, there's way too many dentists in the workforce and it's increasing. By 2040, there could be a surplus of 32% to 110%, meaning that there could be about twice as many dentists practicing as there are dentists needed. Unfortunately nobody ever talks about these topics in the pre-dent areas.

Student loans are going to get more than doubled by 2040, and salaries are going to get halved. I wonder what that's gonna do to the profession.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lwergod

lwergod

2+ Year Member
Sep 27, 2017
301
203
Status
Pre-Dental
also why is the ADA ok with this? are they representing the interests of corporate or the dentists?

looks like a corrupt organization to me.


is it time for residencies to become mandatory to create another bottleneck?
 
About the Ads
Apr 21, 2019
570
832
This is just my speculation. But huge private equity groups have started investing in dentistry. KKR for example, the 2nd largest PE firm in the world, bought Heartland Dental. I don't think it's unreasonable to believe that these private equity groups have used their money to buy influence within ADA.

And the best thing for private equity/corporate dental would be to have a surplus of dentists graduating so they can drive down salaries and pocket more money for themselves. Supply and Demand, the more dentists there are, the lower the demand for individual dentists, which means dentists lose their negotiating power in contracts. Rememeber, there are multi-millionaires and billionaires with a lot to lose here. Who do you think wins the fight, a lowly dentist or a powerful billionaire?

For example, Heartland dental, the corporate group bought by KKR. They only pay their associate dentists 25% collections or something like that. I'm sure their overhead is no higher than 50% for such a huge operation. That means they pocket 25%+ from every dentist. In the future with more and more dentists, they can reduce the % they pay dentists, maybe lower it to only 20%, and dentists can't do anything about it because there is a surplus of dentists and they have no negotiating power. I'm guessing if corporate dental takes over, dentists will have to form a union or something.

^disclaimer: this is all opinions from a pre-dent
 

Ladm8

2+ Year Member
Apr 30, 2017
74
119
Status
Dental Student
For the sake of clarity I believe your stats for those schools are way off, these are the handbook stats
Midwestern-AZ20 AA3.49
LECOM19.8 AA3.53
Western19.7 AA3.33
AT19.6 AA3.37
Roseman19.5 AA3.25
New England19.1 AA3.43

Now based off the ADEA study link lets look at changes from 2010-2019
1. total US pop: 308M --> 328M (20M increase)
2. total US dentists: 183K -->200K (17K increase, or looking at it differently 1,683 people per dentist to 1,640 people per dentist so almost the same, not the plummeting you described)
3. total US graduates per year: 5,020 to 6,305
4. total number of dental schools: 58 to 66 (historical average is around 55)
5. programs in the pipeline that I could find: 2 (Cal N State and Texas Tech)

My take: I think the real issue is the skyrocketing tuition combined with stagnating reimbursements, I don't view it as a supply/demand issue.
The applicant pool itself is more competitive than ever and always growing, you could also discuss the increase of women dentists from 23% to 33% in the last 10 years, there's a whole conversation that can be had about how that effects ownership levels vs associating pathways.

I'm not trying to prove/disprove anything but just wanted to put some numbers out there and open the conversation, maybe some practicing dentists could chime in.
 
Last edited:
Apr 29, 2019
194
183
Status
Pre-Dental
This is far more complicated than just supply/demand. You're only backing up your ideas with basic microeconomics. You cannot just take anything and put it into this economics model. There are way too many factors and exceptions to dentistry.

Don't overthink it. You've chosen a great profession.
 

Big Time Hoosier

Man. Myth. Legend.
5+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2015
1,593
4,288
Murica
Status
Resident [Any Field]
The flood of new dental schools will continue for the foreseeable future. At least two new programs I’m aware of are slated to come online: Texas Tech and California Northstate University. Meanwhile the demand for dental services and insurance reimbursement continue to decline.

If you’re entering this profession with $500,000+ in student loans, buckle up!

Big Hoss
 

Big Time Hoosier

Man. Myth. Legend.
5+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2015
1,593
4,288
Murica
Status
Resident [Any Field]
This is far more complicated than just supply/demand. You're only backing up your ideas with basic microeconomics. You cannot just take anything and put it into this economics model. There are way too many factors and exceptions to dentistry.

Don't overthink it. You've chosen a great profession.
Predent, right?

Big Hoss
 

morristhecat

2+ Year Member
Apr 27, 2018
2
5
Status
Resident [Any Field]
The more there are of us, the easier we are to control. Can't ask for a decent salary or benefits if there is someone desperate for a job who won't ask for either. This is especially true in a saturated area. Couple this with the greed of schools and the naivety of your average pre-dental or medical student, and this prophecy pretty much fulfills itself.
 

lwergod

2+ Year Member
Sep 27, 2017
301
203
Status
Pre-Dental
Why on earth does California need to add an 8th dental school? Because most Californian kids refuse to move anywhere out-of-state?

As someone not from Cali, hopefully they all stay in Cali lol.


on a serious note, there is no way all these seats are sustainable in the long run. Student loan forgiveness programs (tax bomb, + PLSF) will start reaching their limits. The federal government will start hemorrhaging money and will be forced to change its student loan policy which will lead to many of these new private 'non-profit' schools shutting down.
 

Utdarsenal

7+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2012
85
82
Status
Dental Student
This is a not-so-simple question and can lead to endless debates.

From the perspective of a dentist (me being able to comfortably feed my family everyday and continue living how I do), yes, the current number of dentists is too much.

From a consumer (patient) perspective, perhaps there aren't enough because the price of health and dental care in the U.S. is very expensive compared to other countries. If there were more, the prices could drop and become more affordable for people.

This is a complicated question but the honest truth (I studied abroad and am familiar with dental industries in other countries), the U.S. has the most protectionist policies in place. Policies that protect dentists within the country and make it a little more difficult for patients.

It's a sensitive topic because we've all been brought up with the idea that as dentist's, we're supposed to be making easy bank. Any possible threat to that (another school opening) is already seen as an attack to our well-being. This is a protectionist mentality. Unfortunately, it gets even more complicated because now everyone is graduating with hundreds of thousands in debt, so there's already an incentive to have to make as much money as possible to pay it all off ASAP, leading even further into the protectionist mentality of "the less competitors, the better for me".

I've noticed that the U.S. tends to have less dentists than other countries in regards to population. My friends in other countries are shocked that I'm booked three weeks in advance in a saturated city.

I personally think there are much bigger problems to worry about (insurances, regulations, tuition) than another school opening. You can't have the best of everything.. think about this for a second. Lets say there were 5 CODA-accredited foreign universities that were charging 10k/tuition a year. Due to this attractive tuition, they receive an influx of applications compared to USC and Harvard who start receiving less because the 80k/year tuition doesn't sound so attractive anymore. Due to other attractive offers, U.S. schools look at themselves in the mirror and think, we have to do something, and start trying to compete tuition-wise. Leading to less debt. BUT, yes, more schools would lead to more dentists and more competition, possibly less pay.. It's difficult to balance everything out. This is what I mean by, "it's complicated"..
 
Last edited:
About the Ads