Main findings

  • The annual number of oral health practitioners graduating from Australian institutions is anticipated to increase more than 2.5 times, to 335 by 2015.
  • By 2025, more than half of the graduates for the year (200) are expected to be oral health therapists (an increase of 251%), and there will be an estimated 120 dental hygienist graduates (an increase of 135%) and 15 dental therapist graduates (a decrease of 38%).
  • Over the projection period 2006–2025 the number of practising:
    • oral health therapist numbers will increase the most, more than 460%, from 371 to 2,117
    • dental hygienist numbers are expected to more than double, from 674 to 1,458
    • practising dental therapist numbers are projected to decrease by 61%, from 1,171 to 443.
  • Overall, the number of oral health practitioners per 100,000 population is expected to increase by 52%, from 10.8 oral health practitioners per 100,000 population to 16.2 by 2025.
  • Despite this substantial anticipated growth, the ratio of dentists to oral health practitioners is expected to remain relatively stable. This is due to an anticipated similar proportionate increase in the number of dentist graduates over the same period.