The estimates come from an American Dental Association (ADA) Health Policy Institute (HPI) brief.
Although the numbers are related to the USA, it could reflect changes to come in the future across the world and how this may impact the dental profession as a whole.
‘This is an important contribution to the debate that needs to go on about how we, as a dental community, can deliver care to everyone who needs it yet maintain the dental profession going forward,’ said Richard Valachovic, the president and CEO of the American Dental Education Association, during a webinar discussion in July.
The new report is an updated version of a similar one from 2016, but ‘the new report takes into account how market forces, such as an economic downturn, could affect dentists’ retirement decisions’, according to Drbicuspid.com.
It predicts the workforce will be ‘increasingly younger and female’ with 46% of dentists identifying as women by 2037.
‘While further work is needed, our results suggest that, at the aggregate level, the United States could be entering a period of expanding supply of dentists and flattening demand for dental care,’ the authors wrote in the report.
‘The shifts in the age and gender profile of the dentist workforce do not affect these conclusions.’
Dr Valachovic believes the changing demographics of dentists offers a chance to reach more patients.
‘Having women and racial and ethnic minorities out there in greater numbers might change the mix and meet the demand as well,’ he said.