7 Factors Affecting Dental Students & Professionals in India

dental professional

With the dawn of the new millennia, healthcare industry across India is booming and dentistry too has kept pace with these developments. In India, there are currently over 1,80,000 dentists including 35,000 specialists and the number of dental professionals across the country is expected to grow to 300,000 by 2018 as every year around 25,000 dental graduates will add to the list. While growing awareness and patient empowerment have led to the demands for better oral care there are certain issues that are affecting dental professionals in India.

Let’s take a look at the top 7 factors affecting dental students and professionals across India.

Poor Manpower Projection and Planning

Defective planning of the dental professionals is one of the main factors that needs to be addressed. With more private dental colleges mushrooming across the country the demand for government dental colleges has depreciated. This has also resulted in stagnation in the growth of government dental colleges that receive less attention and funds. Many government dental colleges lack qualified faculties and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. On the other hand, as the private dental colleges grow there has been a surplus of dental graduates in the country that has discouraged many candidates who believe that increased competition would curb their future career growth.

Geographical Distribution of Dental Colleges & Clinics

Secondly, most of these private colleges are located in selected cities and states which reveal a massive flaw in the geographic distribution of the colleges. Around three-fourth of the total dentists in India are located in the urban areas that sum up only one-fourth of the country’s population. With majority of the dentists congregated in urban areas, they find it hard to get patients or employment while in the rural area patients suffer as they do not have enough dental care facilities. Many of the dental professionals that serve in urban areas eventually switch to an alternate profession.

Emphasis on Selected Courses

Top dental colleges across India focus on prosthodontics and orthodontics as most dental student prefer it over other courses. A large number of population lies between zero to fourteen years which indicates that there is a great demand for pediatric dentistry, but Indian dental colleges train only around 9% of the dental graduates to become pediatric specialists. Similarly, there is a high demand for community dentists across India as majority of the India reside in rural areas, but only 2% of the specialists are trained to become community dentists.

Change in Disease Patterns

Dental awareness and information in urban areas have to some extent improved the oral health of the general population. However, it has also lead to decline in certain oral diseases leading to a shift in disease patterns. The most prevalent dental problems today in urban areas are dental caries and periodontal diseases followed by malocclusion and oral cancers. Over a period of time, there has been a decrease in the number of tooth extractions and general population prefer other alternatives like root canal and crown.

Change in Treatment Requirements

As the Indian population becomes more affluent and educated, there is a shift in the demands of the society that dentists must take into consideration. In urban areas, the demand for certain dental services have dropped while enhancing the demand for others. For instance, the demand for aesthetic dentistry, cosmetic surgery, dental implants, endodontics and periodontics has grown considerably. This means that dental professionals have to be prepared and invest according to the demands of their patients.

Lack of Infrastructure & Monetary Benefits in Rural Areas

Dentists who would want to serve in the rural areas find it difficult to practice because of lack of infrastructure in villages and remote areas. Low number of research facilities in rural areas affects the overall performance of dental graduates and professionals. Apart from that, many dental professionals prefer to practice in urban areas due to monetary benefits which they do not find in remote towns and villages. Many dentists prefer to immigrate to developed countries like United States, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom where they receive better monetary benefits and research facilities to enhance their practice.

Limited Health Care Expenditure

Countries across the globe have kept health care at the foundation of their socio-economic development. However, the recent union budget fails to deliver on health care sector. The public health spending is mere 1.2% placing India among the low ranking countries in the recent WHO study. With limited flow of funds, government dental colleges find it hard to come up with better educational facilities for the aspiring dental graduates and postgraduates.

Indian Dental Association (IDA) has been working with various communities in urban and rural areas and with major key policy makers to eliminate the challenges that dental graduates and professionals face in their career.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Dr. Hemamalini Chandrashekhar says:

    The problem in dentistry is not lack of expertise or training of the candidates, the problem stems frm multiple factors. Take 1- growing inflation, can we increase charges as per inflation or oil prices? Take 2- The range of dental products n equipments available in dental market from costs anywhere between few hundreds to thousands. There is no norm established there. So anyone can buy low range product and charge less. Take 3- opportunities for dentists other than clinical work is practically not available and livelihood depends on running a practice to earn a living and as newcomers fear peer competition they tends to work at lower charges to built patient base, coz eventually they have overheads to bear. Take 4- Opportunities may be plenty in rural towns but the maximum dentists want to practice in the city where they feel dental awareness is better and the work variation and opportunity to perform advanced procedure is better. Take 5- Rural population may not pay as well as cities do.
    If more employment opportunities with adequate compensation is offered, who knows, dental profession may get its lost reputation back! Hoping the best.

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  2. Anam says:

    Bds graduates have General medicine,General surgery in their academic subjects but still they are treated as dentist not as doctor..no one try to believe that BDS are also DOCTOR…

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  3. All the points you have stated are highly accurate. Dentistry in India is currently going through a low phase. Corrective measures need to be taken asap if we are to save the dentistry scene in India.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Abhyudaya says:

    Reblogged this on e-Dentist India.

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  5. DrShekhawat says:

    Its the dentist who are degrading the dental market. Leave experienced BDS, I have seen MDS people charging 600-700 for RCT. How could someone maintain quality standards with this much charges. After seeing such rate charts patients start believing that those who have good rates are cheating them. The back stage story of sterilization and other quality control method are something that patient cant see. This is further increasing the struggle for the new comers. In some places IDA have given minimum base price, But no one bothers to find out if it is being followed or not. THE DEVIL’s ARE AMONG US ONLY.

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  6. Dr.Lala Wage,MDS says:

    I do agree with IDA observations-7 factors affecting dental professionals in India. Yes IDA is only the prime organisation for dental aspects in India. I am in line of positive opinion for govt sector or private sector that Govt. Of India MoHFW should properly utilise our dental manpower by creating separate dental directorate at ministry level and directive for creation of separate dental directors in every states of Indian Union so to streamline the dental administration and dental care facilities in govt sector and dental ppp mode to dental organisations or socialised dental set-ups for effective services to rural populace.

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  7. Dr Gargi Roy Goswami says:

    I feel the dental professionals are quite responsible for degrading the quality of the profession…As a fresher whether one is from a private or government college makes a little difference when it comes to clinical practice. People say the learning curve and establishing oneself is slow in dentistry. But I feel the situation is made so. The trend is such that without a Masters in Dentistry you stand nowhere. The corporate clinic culture push freshers to more of a promotional work rather than giving clinical exposure… the point is if someone is blocked from opportunities to enhance clinical skill then form where do we expect quality dentistry.Definitely a higher degree matters but its not that a simple dental graduate cannot perform quality dentistry. A fresher is like clay..the one molds, it shapes that way.
    Dentists are hired with a below average remuneration with extensive working hours and made to do non-clinical and promotional jobs. An aspiring dentist who really looks for doing something good to society thus start losing interest and hence even does not hesitate to join a call center even. So why such things are occurring? is it only because that private colleges have mushroomed or is it the lack of opportunity?

    So its time that something should be changed..either the pattern of imparting education or the outlook. It is time to fight hard and establish the actual beauty related with this noble profession instead of degrading it. More opportunities should be opened up for skilled training of fresh graduates and postgraduates.

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    1. Yes, we are aware, situation still persist like you mentioned in your comment. Indian Dental Association (IDA) is working relentlessly towards changing the pattern of imparting dental education, introducing standardisation in terms of clinical practices and working to provide increasing opportunities for dental professionals across the country.

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