|Maybe not quite from the 80's but who cares! And yes, I|
added my own commentary, I guess I wasn't in a funny mood
Regardless of the fact that dentistry had a poor outlook in the 80's, it is now returned full swing! Many of the once closed dental schools are now re-opening, and other private universities popping out new dental schools with the greatest technology, amazing buildings, and great programs to try and attract today's savvy dental school applicant. As the article below states, many applicants were deterred because dentistry was thought to be doing its job too well and diminishing the need for dental care with the advances of technology in the oral health care field. I am glad to say, "Boy were you wrong!" If anything, the need for oral health care has increased as peoples incomes has decreased and stopped taking care of their teeth (while still needing the coolest shoes, cellphones, cable TV and internet, etc)... But that is a topic for another discussion.
Enjoy reading this article from 1987, written by Tamar Lewin, and published in the New York Times.
Plagued by Falling Enrollment, Dental Schools Close or Cut BackBy TAMAR LEWIN
Published: October 29, 1987
Georgetown University's 86-year-old dental school has no first-year students this fall. Over the next three years the Washington school will be gradually shut down, unless students and faculty members win a lawsuit to block the move.
Georgetown, formerly the nation's largest private dental school, decided to close after a Price Waterhouse study found that the school would have a $3.6 million deficit by 1992.
In Atlanta, Emory University's dental school will be graduating its last class of dentists this spring, then converting itself into a postdoctoral and research institution. And in Tulsa, Okla., Oral Roberts University's dental school graduated its last class two years ago.
Many of the 57 other dental schools in the United States have cut back the size of their classes, unable to attract enough qualified applicants. According to the American Association of Dental Schools, applications have dropped by almost two-thirds since 1975. The academic quality of the applicants has declined, too. High Tuition and Debt
And dental schools face other problems: Tuition that tops $15,000 a year at some private dental schools discourages many applicants, as does the fact that the average private dental school graduate has educational debts of $51,000.But the main cause for the declining interest in dental school is a widespread perception that advances in dental care have diminished the public's need for dentistry.
''We've done a very good job of preventing dental decay, and the birth control pill has done a very good job of reducing the population of children that was expected,'' said the dean of Emory's dental school, Dr. Dwight R. Weathers.
''So there is reduced demand for dentistry,'' he added. '''There have been a lot of articles saying how terrible things are for dentists, and that image, along with the high cost of dental education, obviously enters into young people's decisions about what career to pursue.'' Flouridation and Competition
There is little doubt that the introduction of fluoridation more than 40 years ago has brought a dramatic decrease in children's tooth decay, once a mainstay of dental practice. And many individual practitioners say there is now an oversupply of dentists, creating increased competition for a limited number of patients.
''To tell the truth, you have to sell a little sizzle these days,'' said Dr. Jules Paderewski, a Savannah, Ga., dentist who says his own practice in cosmetic and restorative dentistry is flourishing. ''With fluoridation and better preventive care, and the overall health consciousness of most Americans, the average guy coming out of dental school finds that the demand is not so high.''
He and others say, however, that there are still good opportunities in dentistry, especially in newer specialties such as cosmetic dentistry.
The American Dental Association argues vehemently that while the image of the profession may be suffering, the practice is not.
''We have no evidence that demand for dental services is declining,'' said Tony Kiser, secretary of the American Dental Association's Council on Dental Practice. ''The nation's total budget for dental services last year was $29.6 billion, the highest it's ever been.'' Income and Enrollment
Dr. Kiser says that dentists' average income, too, has been rising steadily, to $69,980 in 1985, the last year for which figures are available.
Nonetheless, the number of first-year dental students has dropped by almost a third in the past decade.
''The post-baby-boom generation is less interested in all the health professions,'' said Eric Solomon, assistant executive director of the American Association of Dental Schools. ''In some applicants' minds, there is also a hierarchy in the health professions, with medical school on top of dental school. So as applications to medical schools decline, and it becomes easier to get in, some people who would otherwise be going to dental school are probably going to medical school.''
The ratio of dental school applicants to enrollees is now 1.3 to 1, as against 2.7 to 1 in 1975, and applicants' aptitude test scores have been dropping for the last decade.
Many experts point out, however, that the relative supply and demand of dentists is a cyclical phenomenon, with the ups and downs controlled in good part by Federal aid programs. Influence of Federal Aid
Although fewer people may be becoming dentists than in the 1970's, they say, enrollment and applicant levels are similar to those of the mid-1960's, when there was serious national concern about a shortage of dentists.
As a result, the Federal Government gave hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to dental schools, some of it through programs that included financial incentives for larger classes.
According to the American Dental Association, dental school enrollment peaked in 1981, the year the Federal grant programs were abolished.
''The problem has always been to get the supply and demand in balance, and it seems we're always going up and down,'' Dr. Weathers of Emory said. ''The issue now is whether we are going to overreduce the supply so much that we'll have a shortage of dentists a few years down the road.''