MORE than half of dentists under 35 in England are female, with overall numbers up by more than three per cent, a new report shows.
In 2012/2013 there was an overall total of 10,541 female dentists, a 3.4 per cent increase on the previous year. Since 2006/2007 (when the new dental contract was launched), the number of women practitioners has jumped by over a third and they now make up 45 per cent of the workforce.
Among practitioners under 35, there are currently 4,810 women (56 per cent) compared to 3,656 (51.8 per cent) in 2006/2007.
In comparison, the number of male dentists has remained stable in recent years and currently sits at 12,660. They continue to make up the vast majority of older clinicians, with more than three-quarters (76.4 per cent) of the over-55s male. This represents a drop of just 0.6 percentage points on last year.
The figures are contained in the latest NHS Dental Statistics for England 2012/2013 from the Health & Social Care Information Centre.
The annual report includes information on all patients who receive NHS dental care in England for the 12 months leading up to March 31, 2013. It covers dental activity, clinical treatments, orthodontic activity, patient charges and dental workforce statistics.
It shows 23,000 dentists performed NHS activity in 2012/2013, a rise of just 281 on the previous year but just over 3,000 more than in 2006/2007.
Many of the key figures have remained largely stable in recent years. In the two years ending June 2013, almost 30 million patients were seen, including just under eight million children.
A drop was noted amongst courses of treatment which fell by 249,000 (0.6 per cent) in 2012/2013. This is attributed largely to the phasing out of UDA credits for prescription-only courses.
Non-paying adults account for half of the more complex band 3 treatments, while just over a quarter (27.5 per cent) are for paying adults and nearly five per cent for children. It’s thought this may reflect a lower standard of dental health among this patient group.
For children, fluoride varnish is now the third most common treatment item, behind examination and fillings and sealant restorations.