Are there too many dental clinics in your area? It’s not surprising.
An ideal dentist to patient ratio is 1:7,500, according to the WHO. However, with Maharashtra, as well as India, churning out dentists in huge numbers, the ratio has dropped to 1:5,000 in the state. With too few patients, many dentists have been rendered jobless.
The Dental Council of India (DCI) has now written a letter to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan asking him to not give the requisite permission for opening a new dental college in the state. After the Maharashtra University of Health Science got a letter on the same, a one-man expert committee was formed with Dr Mansingh Pawar, dean of Government Dental College, Mumbai.
Dr Dibyendu Mazumder, DCI president, said, “The number of dentists keeps increasing every year but many of them don’t have sufficient number of patients.”
There are 35 dental colleges in the state producing 3,000 to 3,500 dentists, and 295 in India, with almost 80% run by private parties, producing around 30,000 dentists every year. Till date, 22,000 BDS students have been registered with the Maharashtra dental council and 1.3 lakh with the DCI.
“The more the number of dentists, the harder it is for them to get enough patients,” said Pawar.
A student who completed his BDS said, “Ten years back, becoming a dentist was a matter of prestige. But now, the picture has changed. There is a clinic at every nook and corner. Hence, instead of continuing in this profession, I did an MBA in hospital management. Now I am in a profession where there is job security and I earn a good salary too.”
Dr Akash Akinwar, a periodontal surgeon, said, “Many who did their BDS turned to call centres and other such professions to survive. DCI’s move is coming too late. There’s a lot of corruption, and new private colleges keep opening every year.”
Dr Ashok Dhoble, secretary, Indian Dental Association, however, said, “All dentists want to practise in metros. No one wants to go to rural areas, where there is a crunch. Much of the rural population still has to come to cities for treatment. Dentists should go to rural areas rather than crowding the cities.”