Supply of dentists improving in remote areas

The number of dentists employed in Remote/Very remote areas increased markedly in recent years, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Dental workforce 2011, shows that the number of dentists employed increased by almost 49% between 2006 and 2011 in Remote/very remote areas. The number has also increased across Australia generally, up 22.4% between 2006 and 2011, with increases in all geographical areas.

'Despite having the smallest growth at 19%, Major cities continue to have more dentists per capita than other areas in 2011, with 64.1 full-time equivalent (FTE) dentists per 100,000 population,' said AIHW spokesperson Teresa Dickinson.

The report also shows that there were around 18,800 dental practitioners in Australia in 2011, including 1,145 dental prosthetists, 1,206 dental hygienists, 1,165 dental therapists and 1,108 oral health therapists.

'In 2011, there were around 12,700 employed dentists in Australia, with around 80% working in the private sector,' Ms Dickinson said.

Nearly 1,500 dentists were working as specialists, with the majority working in private practice in Major cities.

'Orthodontics was the most common speciality, with 567 orthodontists employed across Australia.'

Dentists employed worked on average 37.4 hours a week in 2011, with around 30% working part time. This is a slight decrease from the average of 38.5 hours a week in 2006.

Just over one-third of employed dentists were women, an increase of around 7 percentage points from 2006.

'Employed oral health therapists, dental hygienists and dental therapists were all more likely to be women, at around 88%, 96% and 97% respectively,' Ms Dickinson said.

'On the other hand, only about 14% of dental prosthetists were women.'

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.



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