Being Dentist: Saturation In Dental Profession; Fact Or Myth?

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Posted On: April 8th, 2014      
 , dental-practice-management

As a dental student or professional, it is really disappointing to hear someone saying "Why did you choose to become a Dentist? There's no scope in Dentistry."

How can anyone say that about our profession?Initially we resist to such comments but then seeing the situation of young dentists; some of us end up believing that dentistry has no future in India; few manage to opt out of the profession but majority has to continue dentistry. Recently there have been some cases of dentists committing suicide out of financial frustration which is very sad... 



Let me put you across some facts & figures 


1. I have some references which say that there are approx. 300 Dental Colleges in India & approx. 25,000 new dentists join the battle every year. 

2. As per DCI there are 3 lakh registered dentists in India till date (2015) who are serving to the population of approx 128 cr


I do agree that, the situation of young dentists in India is not that good. There are limited job opportunities for dentists, few patients & has cut throat competition. On the other hand if we look at the figures of developed countries such as US, the scenario is quite surprising. In the US, dentists are amongst the highest earning professionals & dental treatments are the costliest.



Why dentistry is amongst best professions in The United States?  


You will probably say, that US is a developed country and there is no saturation. Let me give you some figures provided by ADA. As per the American dental association there are 1.5 Lac dentists in US serving to 32 Cr populations. 
If we try to match the ratio of “Population: Number of Dentists” between India & US then it will be like this



Number of Dentists


128 Cr.

3 Lac

Actual ratio of India

64 Cr.

1.5 Lac

Actual ratio divided by 2

32 Cr.

75 K

Actual ratio divided by 4

32 Cr.

1.5 Lac

Actual ratio of US


In the above table, one can see that there are only 75 thousand dentists to serve 32 crore population in India where as in US there are 1.5 lakh dentists to serve the same population i.e. twice the number of dentists in India. If these are the figures then why dentistry is amongst the best professions in US and we are still complaining?

Are we really facing saturation?
If you feel there's saturation at present then just think about the situation 10 years down the line when there will be additional 2.5 Lac dentists in the country. 
I believe that, saturation in not there in our profession
Saturation is in our minds which doesn't allow us to see the future possibilities..
The dentists in US are not only facing competition from local dentists but also from dental graduates from countries like India, China and many other countries. Just imagine what will happen if government allows dentists from neighboring countries to practice in India after clearing an entrance exam?
In India, increasing number of dentists is not the main problem but the status of oral healthcare awareness amongst the population is. Oral healthcare awareness is one of the biggest reasons that differentiate Indian & US dentists. In India less than 20% of population has awareness about oral health while in US more than 80% population pay attention on their oral health. 

Just imagine what can happen if we could turn this 20% into 80%
I know it's not going to happen overnight but it's possible