Dental Hypotheses

: 2014  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 162--163

Situational analysis of dental health workforce in India: Need for attention

Mythri Halappa1, Jayanna Vinayak Bharateesh1, Korapathi Ramanandagupta Kashinath2,  
1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sri Siddhartha Dental College, Tumkur, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Prosthodontics, Sri Siddhartha Dental College, Tumkur, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mythri Halappa
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sri Siddhartha Dental College, Tumkur, Karnataka

How to cite this article:
Halappa M, Bharateesh JV, Kashinath KR. Situational analysis of dental health workforce in India: Need for attention.Dent Hypotheses 2014;5:162-163

How to cite this URL:
Halappa M, Bharateesh JV, Kashinath KR. Situational analysis of dental health workforce in India: Need for attention. Dent Hypotheses [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 May 28 ];5:162-163
Available from:

Full Text

As India strives to achieve universal health coverage, improvement in oral health care delivery through the availability of skilled and motivated dental health workers is essential. [1] A clear understanding of the dental health-workforce situation is critical to the development of effective policies to develop and manage a responsive workforce. Human resource shortages [2],[3] hinder scale up of health services and limit the capacity to absorb additional financial resources. [4]


In the past two decades, there has been considerable progress in increasing the training capacity. The key finding regarding workforce production is the increase in training capacity because of the growth in private sector involvement in dental education. This trend seems likely to increase, since incentives and regulation relaxations have been introduced to encourage private investment in dental education.


Lack of Job opportunities in Public sectorLow salariesJob insecuritiesMigration of dentists to foreign country [4]


These shortages highlight the need to develop and implement high quality, evidence based workforce plans, especially in the poorest and most fragile states.


Privatization of dental education has helped to overcome the shortcomings resulting from inadequate expansion of the training capacity in the public sector; it has also raised questions on the quality of dental training.The gross inequality in the distribution of the training institutes among the different states. These institutes are primarily clustered in states with high Gross Domestic Product (GDP), where the issues related to shortages of dentists are relatively less acute. [2]Increased mismatch between dentists production and job opportunity in government hospitals/public health sector. This finding suggests that increases in the production and overall supply of dental graduates will not necessarily address the public sector shortages. Other strategies will need to be introduced to encourage dental health workers to serve in the public sector.

While production of dental health workers has increased in recent years, this has been at the cost of increased privatization of dental education in India. 2 The rapid growth in the production of dentists has not helped to address the public health system. Further, the problems of imbalances in the distribution of these health personnel persist, with certain states remaining at a disadvantage. These findings suggest that mere increase in production is unlikely to resolve the issues related to dental health worker availability and distribution. Growth of private sector in increasing the training of dental workforce cannot be ruled out but a proper needs assessment has to be done or else a mere feel of saturation in jobs may deter youngsters from choosing dentistry as a career. Hence, it requires an attention for proper planning.


1Hazarika I. Health workforce in India: Assessment of availability, production and distribution. WHO South East Asia J Public Health 2013;2:106-12.
2Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. India Statistics. Available from: [Last accessed on 2013 April 20].
3Dental Council of India. Available from: [Last accessed on 2013 May 23].
4Anand S, Bärnighausen T. Human resources and health outcomes: Cross country econometric study. Lancet 2004;364:1603-9.