Indian Dentistry: Today and Tomorrow
Dentists are an important, but an often unrecognised, group of professionals in the field of modern medicine.
The diseases of other organ systems are usually deemed to be more important than a toothache. Dental diseases also require prominence since the medical literature has established oral health can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or systemic conditions, such as diabetes, and oral infections can be risk factors for diseases like cardiovascular diseases. The relationship between oral and general health suggests we should re-examine the role of dental professionals and dentists.
And if we did, we’d see that the dental profession in India is facing multiple issues with regard to education, practice and employment.
India has the second highest number of dentists in the world: 2.7 lakh are registered with the Dental Council of India (DCI). In 2020, the country achieved more than the ideal dentists-to-population ratio of 1:5,000, as against the 1:7,500 recommended by the WHO.
However, the urban-rural distribution of dentists is not even. Each year, 27,000 dentists join the existing workforce after graduating from 313 dental colleges. Of them, 40 government colleges account for 11% of all seats and the remaining are in private colleges. The private sector played a huge role in the growth of dental education. But today, there are many issues in terms of education quality, lack of basic infrastructure and high tuition fees in these private colleges.
It is necessary to motivate student’s graduates to make them a further career in the dental industry. The problem of dental health is increasing day by day because of a change in the environment. Slither is a bright future for this industry. We should understand this according to changing conditions.
There are some things which can be done:
- Increasing awareness in people about the importance of dental health.
- There should be control over the openings of dental colleges as it increases unemployment.
- There should a single exam for all dental students.
- Awareness camps for students who will make their careers in dentistry.
- The government should increase seats for dental admissions and jobs.
- The job opportunities in rural areas should also be an increase, so the students from the rural area will also like to make their careers in dentistry.
Now, it’s important to know about the future scope of dentistry. Present situations may impact on future dentists in India. But, as per the changes in the environment, the lifestyle of people, there is a high demand for the dentists in India.
If we think about technologies that will shape the future of dentistry here it is
AI is changing the way we look at dentistry. It has reduced the time it took for a procedure, costs and errors. AI has been providing a system that has enough intelligence to perform, validate, evaluate, predict and analyse tasks with marginal accuracy in a predefined environment. This technology has the potential to support the dental profession for radiographic interpretations, diagnosis of orofacial pain and analysis of facial growth in orthodontia among others. AI’s ability to provide second opinions and as an enforcer of consistency is evident. Integration of practice and patient data with diagnostic and treatment outcome data will eventually establish new standards of care and operating efficiencies as far as AI in dentistry is concerned.