[Is there a need for an additional dental school in Israel? 2002 status and future forecasting]

Author(s): Mann J, Vered Y


Dental manpower planning is constantly in discussion throughout the world. Current data indicates a transition from oversupply reports 10 to 20 years ago to a present undersupply of dentists with a forecast for further shortage in the near future. The dental profession in Israel has gone through deep and extreme changes since the late 80'. Dentists are now at the "bottom of the barrel" and many abandoned the profession after long and demanding years of education. The future of the academic dental institutions is also unclear. In spite of the current unrealistic present, we are witnessing some processes that might change the status of the dental profession in Israel in the near future. Among these are the changing roll of female dentists in the profession, increasing age of practicing dentists, obligatory state licensing exams, less immigration of dentists and the natural growth of the population. Together with the expected increase of demand for dental care, a decrease in the number of dentists in Israel will result in a balanced dental manpower in 2011. Therefore, the necessity of establishing a third dental school in Israel was brought to discussion. Dental schools are responsible not only for students qualification as caregivers, but also for enrichment of practicing dentists with updated data, and qualifying specialist dentists in the various fields of the profession. At the present, there is no justification for establishing a third dental school in Israel. Nevertheless, it is obligatory to maintain and strengthen the two existing dental schools in spite of the needed high costs. Only in this way the profession will continue to enjoy a nation high quality professional and academic dental manpower. The continuous qualification of specialists will be maintained and an open "path" will be available for future manpower enlargement. Hastiness and rashness, which ended in national shortage of dentists in other countries, should be avoided in Israel.

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