Number of dentists doubles – The Portugal News

According to data from the Portuguese Dental Association, at
the end of 2021, the Portuguese Dental Association (OMD) had 12,235
professionals with active enrolment and working in Portugal, 5.1% more than in
the previous year.

Compared with 2010, when there were 6,905 professionals,
there are 5,330 more dentists, according to the study “Números da
Ordem”, which reflects “the numbers, estimates and trends in the
profession”.

Working abroad

According to the study, 1,819 dentists (12.9% of the total)
had their enrolment suspended at the end of 2021, 8.4% more than in 2020, the
main reason for this situation being emigration (67%).

Of those who decided to work abroad, the majority chose
European countries, namely France (27.6%), the United Kingdom (23.5%), Spain
(8.5%), the Netherlands (7%) and Italy (6 .8%).

The study states that the increase in the number of
professionals has led to “a sharpening of the ratio of dentists per
inhabitant”, reaching at the end of 2021, one dentist for 846 people,
compared to 884 residents in the previous year.

Saturated market

For the chairman of the OMD, Miguel Pavão, these figures do
not come as a surprise: “They are only the continuity and aggravation of a
situation that the Order has been giving an alert about from year to
year”.

“We are in a dramatic situation, with a lot of
seriousness”, Miguel Pavão told the Lusa agency, alluding to the excess of
dentists and the fact that “the market is increasingly saturated”.

Having more dentists in Portugal, he said, “does not
mean that people have better access or better oral health conditions.”

What it does, he added, is that professionals, and medical
acts, are less and less valued, and there is an increase in emigration from
year to year.

For Miguel Pavão, the ratio of dentists per inhabitants
begins “to reach very worrying numbers”, with forecasts pointing out
that, in 2025, there will be one dentist per 685 residents, when the
recommendations of the World Health Organization are of one dentist for every
2,000 inhabitants.

Analyzing its distribution across the country, he stated
that there are “too many incongruities and too many disparities across the
country.”

“If in the Porto Metropolitan Area we already have a
ratio of one dentist below 600 inhabitants”, in the regions of Baixo
Alentejo, Alentejo Litoral and Lezíria do Ribatejo the ratio exceeds one
dentist for 2,000 residents.

Trained for “unemployment”

Miguel Pavão regretted that people are being trained for
unemployment and said that the OMD has come to warn that the number of Faculties
of Dental Medicine (seven) has to be “rationed to the Portuguese
reality”.

He said that this year another university intended to launch
a new degree. “It would be the eighth in Portugal and this is completely
unformatted from the European reality”, he said, questioning: “Why
increase the number of dentists when there is no place for them either in the
public or in the private sector”.

In 2021, 3,840 students attended the integrated master’s
degree in dentistry, 69 more than in 2020 and 436 more than five years ago.

According to the study, the weight of women in the
profession has been increasing, reaching 61.6% in 2021, the year in which the
average age of dentists remained at 40 years.

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