From the time of the Renaissance, there was a growing demand for dental care in Europe.
In 1218, a king granted a royal charter to King Charles I of England, setting out a plan to improve the quality of life for people who lived in England.
Charles I and his successors established a network of clinics across England to treat patients in their own areas, which became known as the dental industry.
Dental care became increasingly expensive as dentists were paid more to perform complex procedures.
In the 16th century, dental surgery was also expensive, with some patients spending over 100% of their income on their treatment.
Today, we would probably call it a crisis.
Dental care is still one of the world’s most expensive healthcare services and we spend nearly two thirds of our gross domestic product on it.
Many of the treatments we use today were developed in the 1800s.
Today the world is in the midst of a global dental crisis.
The world’s population has doubled in the last 30 years, and around 3 billion people around the world are now waiting for the surgery that was once the mainstay of their daily lives.
While we’re all waiting for dental treatments, the dental profession is facing another crisis, with many doctors quitting because they’re seeing more patients than ever before.
A study in the journal Lancet, from a team led by the University of Sydney’s Andrew Leach, looked at the decline in the number of dental students in Australia between 2002 and 2016.
The team compared the number in the general population and dentists in the same age group.
In the study, the researchers identified a dramatic decline in enrolment in the dental school from 2012 to 2016.
It’s a trend that has continued over the years, with more and more young people turning to other avenues of education, such as the tertiary education system.
The study found that more than half of all dentists between the ages of 25 and 64 had left the profession, compared with less than a quarter of dentists aged 45 and over.
For young people in particular, the dentists they choose to work with have also become more competitive, as they have a greater need for experienced staff and more demanding work schedules.
In 2017, Australia recorded its highest rate of dental abscesses in history, with about 10,000 of the cases being in young people aged between four and 18.
These pressures mean young people are struggling to find dentists who can treat them in the most effective way.
Dr Leach said the dental system needed to take a “dramatic step forward” in order to provide dentists with the dental care they need.
“We need to be investing in dental education, dental training, and the dental workforce,” he said.
“Dentists are the future of our dental industry.”
“The demand for dentistry is rising across the world and we can only improve dental care if we are prepared to invest in this workforce.”
It’s not just young people who are being pushed out.
A 2017 report from the OECD found that the average age of dental practitioners across the globe is falling.
However, young people remain under-represented.
Over half of dental graduates in Australia are under the age of 30.
A report from Dentists Australia found that young people were overrepresented in the profession in terms of age, gender and geographic location.
It also found that dentists are being more reluctant to work alongside patients with complex dental issues.
“Dental practice is not just for older people anymore.
It is now increasingly for people in their early 20s and 30s who are also facing a significant financial challenge,” Dr Leaches said.
What do you think?
Are we witnessing the beginning of the end for the dental sector?
Do you think we’ll see the end of the dental job?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below.