Report: More dentists in remote Australian areas

The number of dentists Australia has increased in recent years, especially in remote areas, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

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

Major cities saw a 19% increase in dentists, with 64.1 full-time dentists per 100,000 people, health officials said.

About 18,800 dental practitioners were working 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, approximately 12,700 dentists were working in Australia, including 80% in the private sector. Nearly 1,500 dentists were specialists, with the majority working in private practice in major cities.

Orthodontics was the most common specialty, with 567 orthodontists employed.

Dentists worked an average 37.4 hours a week in 2011, with 30% working part time. About one-third of working dentists were women, up 7% from 2006.

A majority of the oral health therapists, dental hygienists, and dental therapists were women; 14% of dental prosthetists were women.

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