Dentist shortage beginning to bite - The Post

Dentist shortage beginning to bite

The new government will have to decide whether to increase the intake to dental schools

If you live outside a big town you may have to go a lot further to have your teeth fixed … if you’re not already going to Sweden (photo: Waseem Farooq/pxhere)
June 12th, 2019 1:30 pm| by Stephen Gadd

It is not only GPs that are in increasingly short supply in Denmark these days.

A new study from the Sundhedsstyrelsen health authority predicts that in ten years time there will be a shortage of around 355 dentists unless urgent steps are taken to train more.

READ MORE: One in ten GPs reaching retirement age

Teething troubles
This could especially affect children as most municipalities prioritise acute cases. If children are not seen reasonably promptly, simple things can turn into something serious during the waiting time.

In the municipalities of Slagelse, Kalundborg and Lolland there are already problems with long waiting times in the public health sector.

“There’s simply not enough dentists to fill all the posts. At the moment, we are missing 2.5 people and that means longer waiting-times for parents and patents,” Harriet Schott, a senior dentist at Slagelse Municipality, told DR Nyheder.

The lure of the metropolis
Every eighth dentist is over the pension age, and when they retire it will particularly affects outlying areas, along with small and middle-sized towns.

READ ALSO: Dental doldrums in Denmark: Bad teeth costs jobs

“We know that the younger dentists don’t want to settle alone in the country, so clinics are being consolidated into increasingly larger units – and that means people in outlying areas will have further to go to the dentist,” Jens Krogsgaard from the practising dentists association told DR.

The study has been passed on to the Ministry of Research and Education, and it will be up to the new minister to decide whether to increase the numbers admitted to dentistry schools.