JÖNKÖPING, Sweden: Sweden has too few dentists in 18 of its 21 regions, and this is expected to continue until at least 2035. To close this gap, Jönköping University has submitted an application to create a new dental programme in conjunction with Linköping University and Jönköping county regional council. Once in full swing, the programme will provide 30 new study places each semester.
The new programme is modelled after a similar successful initiative undertaken in Norway and will also utilise national dental service clinics to provide the clinical hours for the dentists in training. Technology is the core of the new programme, and dental simulators will be used for manual skill practice before working on real patients. A new centre for odontology and oral health science is in the works as well.
Prof. Agneta Marell, president of Jönköping University, commented on the importance of the initiative: “Together, we will contribute to strengthening both the quality and relevance of education, research and technological innovation. This will also facilitate the clinical research that is conducted at the participating clinics, at the same time as providing more career paths in the field of dentistry.”
The new dental students will spend their first two years studying medicine through Linköping University, with the aim that the foundation in medicine will better prepare them for holistic treatment planning. The dental department at Jönköping county regional council will provide additional support and teaching and research staff for the new programme.
The first new dental programme in more than 50 years, Jönköping University’s proposed programme will benefit from the cooperation of more than half of Sweden’s other regions.
Though it is still awaiting approval from the Swedish Higher Education Authority, with the rise of urbanisation in Sweden, the need for dentists, particularly in less densely populated areas is pressing. Remarking on the value of the new programme, Prof. Marell said, “In this way we can address the shortage of dentists, increase the availability of good dental care and contribute to a more equal distribution of dental care throughout the country.”