BiomajorPreDent

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Saw this, thought it was interesting.


U.S. dentist shortage predicted
March 12, 2010
By: DrBicuspid Staff


The U.S. will run short of dentists in two years, a study commissioned by the not-for-profit Delta Dental Plans Association has predicted. Retirement and career changes could outpace dentist school graduation beginning in 2012, the study found.

Researchers from an independent research firm, the Long Group, looked at current dentist retirement rates and survey responses from dentists who expressed a desire to make a career change within the next five to 10 years. They compared those numbers with the current dentist school graduation rate.

Projecting these trends into the future, the researchers found that the 2009 dentist population of about 179,600 will increase through 2011. But retirement and career changes could outpace dentist school graduation beginning in 2012. By 2019, the dentist population could be smaller by nearly 7,000, assuming consistent dental school graduates of 4,500 annually.

The research firm surveyed a national sample of more than 1,300 dentists by phone and online in late July 2009, according to Delta Dental Plans spokesman Chris Pyle. "The Long Group did not consider the effect of new dental schools coming online because they did not feel that they had sufficient information to make good projections," he wrote in an e-mail to DrBicuspid.com. "However, in looking at some basic enrollment potential, it appears that a gap will still remain."

In a Delta Dental Plans press release, the organization described its efforts to encourage dentists to serve in parts of the country where there are particular shortages.

It cites figures from the American Dental Education Association that dental school graduates enter the workforce with an average of $170,000 of debt. "Increasingly, a dentist that is willing to practice in a federally designated dental health professional shortage area can see $80,000 to $100,000 of debt wiped away over three to five years," Delta Dental Plans stated.

For example, it cites Fulfilling Iowa's Need for Dentists (FIND) program, funded jointly by Delta Dental of Iowa and local business, government, health, and civic organizations that brought Arron McWilliams, D.D.S., to the city of Denison, population 7,000. "If it was not for the FIND program, Dr. McWilliams would be practicing in another community," said Don Luensmann, executive director of the Chamber and Development Council of Crawford County.

Delta Dental member companies currently support dentist school loan repayment programs in Arkansas, Iowa, South Dakota, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Delta Dental also invests millions of dollars in dental education throughout the country, the company noted.
Copyright © 2010 DrBicuspid.com

http://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=pmt&pag=dis&ItemID=304110&wf=37

This is very recent, but did not mention anything about the economic slowdown impacting current dentists plans to retire. I wonder about that issue as well...
 

Destiny11

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There is already a shortage of dentists...just not in the cities where people want to practice :laugh:
 
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I'm skeptical when Delta Dental (an insurer) predicts a shortage of dentists. Call me cynical, but I find it hard to believe there isn't an ulterior motive there. Supposedly dentists' incomes have been more resilient to insurance company shenanigans than say physicians, so perhaps this is an effort to change that.
 

iwannabadentist

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I found a block in San Francisco that has more OMFS than the entire state of New Mexico.
i wish there was a way to "Like" this comment as on facebook.
:thumbup:


also, the article seemed to mention on multiple occasions "career change" by dentists. should it be a matter of worry as to why so many dentists are "changing careers?"
 

vlct0ria

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i wish there was a way to "Like" this comment as on facebook.
:thumbup:


also, the article seemed to mention on multiple occasions "career change" by dentists. should it be a matter of worry as to why so many dentists are "changing careers?"
Exactly what I locked into and wondered about while reading this article...hmm
 

alex dds

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That's because dentists arent making any money
I agree. Some of the dental offices I know have had to cut back on hours and assistants because there's a lack of patients --> lack of difficulty finding treatment --> no profit --> more cutbacks :scared:
 

yuppers

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I agree. Some of the dental offices I know have had to cut back on hours and assistants because there's a lack of patients --> lack of difficulty finding treatment --> no profit --> more cutbacks :scared:
If there is a lack of dentists then a lack of patients and profit really won't be an issue. The number of patients isn't lacking (and you could even say they are increasing), but there will be less dentists for them to go to. And that basically means more patients to around.

The reason some dental offices had to cut hours, assistants, and hygienists is because of the bad economy. The patients are less willing to spend money on dental work because it is sometimes seen as unnecessary (unfortunately).
 

TerpDentist

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At the Penn interview day, I remember something similar being mentioned. I can't remember the exact time period but we were either told that currently or in the very near future, for every dentist that is being produced, two are retiring.
 
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I agree. Some of the dental offices I know have had to cut back on hours and assistants because there's a lack of patients --> lack of difficulty finding treatment --> no profit --> more cutbacks :scared:
I agree but it does depend on the state. Here in SLC, UT; the market is completely saturated and one cannot make a significant income. My brother in-law and his 4 brothers practice in another state in which each of them regularly pull down $800K+... Year after year.
 

doc toothache

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Now that's a tough one. The number of dental school graduates decreased in the mid 80's from ~6500 to ~4500 while the US population increased.