There are 29 practising dentists per 100,000 population in
regional and rural areas compared to 51 per 100,000 population in
capital cities, according to Dental Practitioner Statistics
Australia, 1994, released today by the Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare.
Not only is there a significant metropolitan-bush difference,
but there are also marked differences between States and
Territories. Tasmania, with 25 dentists per 100,000 population, and
the Northern Territory with 32, were well below the national
average of 43 dentists per 100,000 population, while South
Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, with 50 and 58
respectively, were well above the average.
According to joint author of the report, Mr Fearnley Szuster,
whether you visit a dentist in the bush, in the city, or any of the
States and Territories, there is an 82 per cent chance your dentist
will be a man rather than a woman.
"The majority of dentists are male. Female dentists are younger,
work fewer hours per week, and there is a higher percentage who are
in salaried employment compared to their male counterparts," Mr
Another major finding is that 81 per cent of practising dentists
work in the private sector, with solo practice and associateships
the major types of main practice.
Dental Practitioner Statistics Australia, 1994, is one
of a series of three reports released by the AIHW's Dental
Statistics and Research Unit. The other reports, Dental
Hygienist Labourforce Australia,1996, and Dental Therapist
Labourforce Australia, 1996, show that South Australia and the
ACT have the highest rate per 100,000 population of dental
hygienists, whereas Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland have
the highest rate of dental therapists.
Dental hygienists provide preventive services to patients, with
a strong emphasis on periodontal diseases, under the supervision of
a dental practitioner. Dental therapists provide basic dental care
in school dental clinics and in some Western Australian private
"These reports reveal that both of these professions, unlike the
dental practitioners, are almost totally female," Mr Szuster
12 November 1997
Further information: Fearnley Szuster, AIHW
Dental Statistics and Research Unit, University of Adelaide, ph. 08
8303 4051 or 08 8303 4858 (fax).For media copies of the report: Michelle Wells,
ph. 02 6244 1032.Availability: Check the AIHW
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