THE FUTURE OF DENTISTRY IN 2020 AND BEYOND WRITTEN BY DR.RAJAT SACHDEVA
I thought I’d share a few interesting facts/predictions that I came across whilst researching.
The exposure towards treating diseased individual over a growing population – Over the next 20 years the population in India is predicted to grow by 1.252 billion to just over 1.454 billion. The number of Indians over the age of 60 years has hit an all-time high, accounting for 8.6 per cent of the country’s population. Based on statistics we would be treating an ageing population – Today almost 1 in 15 people over 60 years old and by 2020 it would be 1 in 5 people above 60 years with an overall grow in population. We will be treating an increasingly diverse population – By 2030, ethnic populations will make 30% of the population of India.There will be an increase in the number of dentists – India currently has 309 dental colleges, which churn out around 26,000 dentists every year as compared to only 8,000 dental students graduated annually in year 1970. It is now, however, estimated that there will be a surplus of more than 1 lakh dentists in India by 2020. The dentists: population ratio of India, on date is 1: 10,000. However, the reality is that; in rural India 1 dentist is serving over a population of 2,50,000. Thus, the real picture is not that simple as it seems. As, we are about step into the next decade, there lies an urgent need to analyze the dental work force for many underserved groups of the country that do not have any access to oral health care.We will be treating less caries or moderate periodontitis but more tooth wear and more peri-implant disease.We will be treating a population with increasing socio-economic inequalities – Men and women in the highest socio-economic class can, on average, expected to live just over 5-6 years longer than those in the low socio-economic state. There will be an obvious increase in focus on value and impact on quality of life with more expectation over results. Dental professionals will be working in multidisciplinary teams and promoting the importance of oral health for general health. With every passing year there has been surge in proportion of female dentists with about 5% in last 5 years, a trend which is expected to continue. In the recent years, female students outnumber male students in getting admitted in dental colleges( like 60- 70% of the seats are occupied by girls).Although only 30% are practically converted into private practitioners.A growing propoprtion of female dentists will work part-time according to the research.The use of virtual reality will be constitutive to dental practice. Google glass integrated with dental loupes can become next best tool for dentists. Technology such as CAD/CAM, lasers and perhaps even robotics may be routinely used in practice.The evolution of materials would continue with bioactive,bone regenerative materials reproducing some compelling results.The impact of smart phones and social media will continue to grow for both dental professionals and patients.