Dentistry has sometimes been described as a Cinderella medical profession. The reality is that while careers in general medicine are perceived as more glamorous, dentistry is nevertheless a vital part of the overall medical profession.
In fact it could be argued that getting regular check-ups at the dentist could prevent the development of many diseases. Symptoms can show in the oral cavity before they show themselves elsewhere.
In short, it is sometimes the first line of defense for health.
However, a recent survey of practicing dentists has found some rather disturbing news which, if not looked at seriously, could affect the development and growth of the dental profession.
Wesleyan, a specialist financial services provider for dentists, carried out a survey and found that a staggering 74% of dentists believe the costs of training plus reducing financial incentives could deter graduates from coming into the profession.
Interestingly, almost one-third of dentists (31%) said they would not recommend the profession, while 40% said they would choose a different career if they had the chance again.
Without doubt, dentistry in the UK has undergone some radical changes over the last 30 years.
With the NHS opening up as competition plus changes in contracts, many dental practices were forced to either close, be taken over by larger organisations, or go private.
Whether these changes are behind the current strong feelings held by many dentists is hard to assess.
However, many dentists feel that the next 5 years could be a worrying time with financial issues being the number one priority for 64% of respondents. This includes not only rising costs and reducing profits but also pension problems.
Many dentists who work in the NHS are also concerned that the recent reforms will have a significant effect on their businesses.
With a general election due in 2015 it will be interesting to see whether these worries continue or improve in the ensuing 4 or 5 years.