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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 9  |  Page : 16-20

Choosing dentistry as a career: A matter of concern – a survey

1 Peoples Dental Academy, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
2 Department of Maxillofacial Prosthodontics and Implantology, Peoples College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
3 Department of Maxillofacial Prosthodontics and Implantology, Peoples Dental Academy, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication2-Aug-2017

Correspondence Address:
Sunil Kumar Mishra
Department of Maxillofacial Prosthodontics and Implantology, Peoples College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal - 462 037, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nnjcr.nnjcr_20_16

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Background: Choosing career is one of the most important decisions in life. Choosing dentistry as a career is one of the difficult and stressful decisions among dental students in India due to the uncertainty of the career and fear of unemployment. Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to investigate the motives behind choosing dentistry as a career option and as well as to determine the awareness regarding the future prospectus of dentistry. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional, descriptive survey. A questionnaire comprising of both close- and open-ended questions were distributed among the 208 undergraduate, intern, graduate, postgraduate, and lecturers in dental colleges in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The response to the questionnaire so obtained was analyzed. Results: Data were analyzed using counts and percentages. Nearly 44% dentist were not satisfied with their income, 60% opted for dentistry because they could not secure a medical seat, 41% of budding dentist do not want to go for postgraduation because of less government seats and more fees in private colleges. The drastic result is that 31% dentist interested in changing the profession. Conclusion: The present scenario can be uplifted by increasing the Postgraduate seats and decreasing the Undergraduate seats in all dental colleges and to increase the job opportunities by creating more jobs in governmental sector. Counseling cell in each and every dental college to combat the stress among dental students should be established.

Keywords: Career, career options, dental students, dentistry, unemployment

How to cite this article:
Bhagwani H, Mishra SK, Yadav NS. Choosing dentistry as a career: A matter of concern – a survey. N Niger J Clin Res 2017;6:16-20

How to cite this URL:
Bhagwani H, Mishra SK, Yadav NS. Choosing dentistry as a career: A matter of concern – a survey. N Niger J Clin Res [serial online] 2017 [cited 2024 Mar 4];6:16-20. Available from: https://www.mdcan-uath.org/text.asp?2017/6/9/16/212001

  Introduction Top

In Today's era, dentistry is not only relieving patients from pain but also improving their smiles. The changing trends of dentistry are also attracting celebrities for esthetic and profile enhancement. However, despite the pace at which dentistry is moving forward the biggest question remains, “Why is the new brigade of budding dentists in dilemma?,”[1] In the United Kingdom and United States of America, dentists are among the 5% highest paid professionals whereas in India dentists are struggling for earning a decent livelihood, baring a few.[2]

In rural areas, people do not consider the oral health care as a part of basic health care. More than half of the population in rural areas never visit dentist in their lifetime. According to a report of the World Health Statistics in 2004, India had one dentist for 2.5 lakh population in rural areas.[3] Although there is a high burden of oral diseases in the country, but there are few job opportunities in India, these amounts to stress among the dental students. This stress of the future prospects and fear of unemployment might/can result in depression in students.

In India, we are facing “feminization of profession” on a wider scale. Many studies[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10] suggested that females have different motives and career practice pattern than their male counterparts. In the present situation, it is utmost important to understand why people are motivated toward this profession and subsequently understanding their career perspective.[11] Several studies have been done on career choice and professional perspective of dental students worldwide. Some studies[10],[11],[12],[13] has also suggested that students seem to relate to an image of dentistry as a vehicle for the achievement of personal goals. In India, few studies have been done under this regard, and student's motivations for choosing dentistry are not clearly defined. The present survey aimed to investigate factors that lead to choice of dentistry as a profession among all the dental students and dental professionals in Bhopal, and how aware are they about their future prospects.

  Materials and Methods Top

The present study is a descriptive, cross-sectional survey of dental graduates and postgraduates of dental colleges in Bhopal. This is a questionnaire-based survey which was conducted during October 2015 for 15 days. The purpose of the study was explained to the participants, and the confidentiality was ensured. Written consent was obtained from the participants before filling the questionnaire.

A custom-made questionnaire containing 10 questions were distributed among 208 dental professionals in dental colleges in Bhopal. The questionnaire had both open- and close-ended questions. The questions were regarding the reasons for choice of dental course, career options, obstacles faced after completion of under graduation, satisfaction with current profession, income, and clinical practice. Ethical approval was obtained from the Ethical Committee of People's dental academy at the beginning of the study.

Inclusion criteria

The participants included in the survey are final year, intern, postgraduates students, and lecturers working in dental colleges of Bhopal. Participants of 20–38 years of age group were participated in the study. The participants willing to participate were only included in this study.

Exclusion criteria

Assistant professor, associate professor, and professor were excluded from the study.

The participants who had not given their consent were also excluded from the study.

Data analysis

Statistical analysis was done using counts and percentages. The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences statistical software (IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp). Since the present study is a computer-aided survey sometimes also erroneously referred to as double-blind trials, the software will not cause any type of bias between the researcher and the subject.

  Results Top

The demographic data of survey were presented in [Table 1]. A total of 208 dental professionals were given the questionnaire, out of which 200 had responded it, giving an overall response rate of 96.15% out of which 136 (68%) were female, and 64 (32%) were male dental graduates. Nearly 92% of participants were in the age group of 20–30 years and only 8% were above 30 years.
Table 1: Demographic data of subjects participated in the study

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When we asked the students what they want to do after the completion of Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS). About 35% students said that they want to do Masters in Dental Surgery (MDS), 39 % students said that they want to start their own clinical practice. Nearly 13% students said they see a more secure future in private practice and 5% feel the need to migrate to other countries for better opportunities [Graph 1].

When we asked the students what are the obstacle faced after the completion of BDS [Graph 2]. 69.2% lecturer and 48.4% final year students reported that they are not satisfied with income whereas 31.2% intern feel the situation of slow growth of clinics.

When we asked the students the reasons behind choosing dentistry as a career option about 71.9% intern opted for BDS because they could not secure a seat for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and 16.1% final year students opted for BDS because they want title doctor before their names. Among the 200 subjects, 28% opted for BDS because of their own interest [Graph 3].

When we asked the reason to go for postgraduation, 51% of the participants want to pursue postgraduation for better income and job opportunity, 28% to get in-depth knowledge of the subject, and 12% participants feel that there is no choice except for doing postgraduation [Graph 4].

When we asked the reason why not to go for postgraduation [Graph 5], 22.7% participants think that there are less postgraduation seats. Nearly 32.7% participants think that more fess in the private college is a drawback which does not allow us to do postgraduation. Whereas, 21.9% feel that there is no job security after MDS. This question is omitted for postgraduate students pursuing MDS.

On question do they ever think of changing the profession, 43.8% interns and 46.2% lecturers are in favor of changing the profession. Their choice after BDS is to pursue Master in Hospital Administration (MHA) or either they want to prepare for the Indian Administrative Services/Union Public Service Commission examination [Graph 6].

When we asked the question whether coming generation should opt for BDS as a carrier, about 69.2% lecturers think that coming generation should not opt for BDS as a carrier whereas 51.6% final year student shows the positive response in the favor of coming generation opting for BDS as a career [Graph 7].

Is there is a need of government to increase job opportunity for dental professionals? 98.0% participants feel it is the need of hour that government should peak into this matter and implement certain rules and policies for increasing job opportunities in government and private sector. Should government play role in financing dental patients in the future. 93% participants are in favor of this.

Overall result showed that 44% dental professionals were not satisfied with their income, 60% opted for BDS because they could not secure a seat for MBBS, 41% of budding dentist do not want to go for postgraduation because of less government seats and more fees in private college. Drastic result is that 31% dental professionals interested in changing the profession.

  Discussion Top

The present descriptive observational survey is to identify the dental graduates perceived motivation for pursuing a dental career and to examine their career plans after graduation. To find out a few answers, we came across a thought-provoking statistics, that this present scenario can be change by increasing the quality instead of quantity dental education in India.

The prevalence of stress among the dental students due to worries of future seems to be increasing year by year. Several studies[14],[15],[16] are done with prime objective of determining the perceived causes of stress among undergraduate dental students. Moreover, they conclude that most of the students in final year are worried about fear of remaining unemployed after graduation.

Few students had chosen dentistry as their first career choice, and the majority of them had chosen this profession as an alternative to medicine. Similar results were also found in a survey performed in Tamil Nadu.[15] According to this study, choice of dentistry was inability to get medical seat among 47% students followed by choice out of own interest 37%. According to a survey conducted in Rishikesh., 54.90% opted for BDS because they could not secure a seat for MBBS.[1] In the present study, 60% participants choose dentistry because of inability to secure MBBS seat and 28% students choose dentistry due to their own interest.

A survey conducted in December 2012 in Rishikesh. Forty-one percent participants want to go for MDS, and 26% wants to start their own clinical practices. Another study conducted in 2014 in Tamil Nadu where 41% planned to do postgraduation in India. Around 22% planned to work at corporate/private clinics while 14% planned to have their own clinic.[15] In the present study, we also found 35% participants want to go for MDS, and 39% wants to start their own clinical practices. There is increased awareness of Indian patients has raised their expectations from the dental practitioners.[1] Awareness about the dental education among Indian population has also decreased the charm of BDS degree alone, and more and more patients try to consult a specialist for their problems. This is the reason why the most dental graduates aim of to get the master's degree (MDS).

In question regarding the obstacles faced after completing under graduation in the present study, it was revealed that 19% participants did not report any obstacles, 44% were not satisfied with income; 18% participants reported slow growth of their clinics, and 19% report financial insufficiency to start their own clinics. However, in a study conducted by Priya et al., it was revealed that 27% of the participants did not report any obstacles, 29% were not satisfied with income, only 1.8% participants reported slow growth of their clinics, and <1% reported financial insufficiency to start their own clinics.[15]

Most of the dental professionals are not interested in specialization in dentistry. Lecturers and interns are more sufferers among this category due to low income and its fame which is decreasing every year. Hence, they seem to be less interesting. The participants were questioned about changing the professions 31% of the subject wants to change the profession, the result were in accordance with the study by Priya et al.[15]

As far as, the future career plan is concerned, the majority intended to either start their private practice or work at a dental clinic. In the present study, 5% of the dental professionals are interested in migrating to other countries for postgraduation degree. The result was almost similar to a study by Priya et al.[15] where 8% participants want to migrate were as the study is quite different from the result obtained by Aeran et al.,[1] in which 60% students want to migrate to other countries for better future prospectus due to better educational facilities and standards abroad.

Some of the limitations of this study should be considered when interpreting the results. The students of the first to third year were not included in this study to evaluate any differences in perception between students of the final year, interns, and postgraduates. The study's sample population comprised only Bhopal participants. A nationwide survey is required to give more accurate representation and results of dental students.

  Conclusion Top

On an whole, we suggest that programs similar to the National Rural Health Mission and National Urban Health Mission for dental and oral healthcare should also be launched. The present scenario can be changed by decreasing the undergraduate seats and increasing the postgraduate seats in all dental colleges. The Dental Council of India should recommend to open dental wing in all the government and private hospitals, and this should be included in basic requirements to start such hospitals. Counseling cell in each and every dental college to combat the stress among dental students should be established and last but not the least more jobs should be created in Government sector.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Aeran H, Sinha S, Rawat P, Mudgil K, Negi S. Budding dentist on the road to success or in a blind tunnel. Int J Sci Stud 2014;1:36-40.  Back to cited text no. 1
Giordano M. America's Highest Paying Jobs 2012. Yahoo Finance; 2012.  Back to cited text no. 2
Simon AK, Rao A, Rajesh G, Shenoy R, Pai MB. Oral health care availability in health centers of Mangalore taluk, India. Indian J Community Med 2014;39:218-22.  Back to cited text no. 3
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Kruger E, Tennant M. A baseline study of the demographics of the oral health workforce in rural and remote Western Australia. Aust Dent J 2004;49:136-40.  Back to cited text no. 4
Matthews RW, Scully C. Working patterns of male and female dentists in the UK. Br Dent J 1994;176:463-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
Seward MH, McEwen EM. The provision of dental care by women dentists in England and Wales in 1985: A ten year review. Br Dent J 1987;162:50-1.  Back to cited text no. 6
Murray JJ. Better opportunities for women dentists: A review of the contribution of women dentists to the workforce. Br Dent J 2002;192:191-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
McKay JC, Quiñonez CR. The feminization of dentistry: Implications for the profession. J Can Dent Assoc 2012;78:c1.  Back to cited text no. 8
Pallavi SK, Rajkumar GC. Professional practice among woman dentist. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent 2011;1:14-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
Orenuga OO, da Costa OO. Characteristics and study motivation of clinical dental students in Nigerian universities. J Dent Educ 2006;70:996-1003.  Back to cited text no. 10
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Mashlah AM. Dentistry students' reasons for choosing dentistry as a career in Damascus University. East Mediterr Health J 2012;18:508-14.  Back to cited text no. 12
Brand AA, Chikte UM. Choosing dentistry as a career – Part I: A comparison of student motives. J Dent Assoc S Afr 1992;47:469-73.  Back to cited text no. 13
Shahab F, Hussain H, Inayat A, Shahab A. Attitudes of medical students towards their career perspective from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. J Pak Med Assoc 2013;63:1017-20.  Back to cited text no. 14
Priya BM, Shivakumar V, Anitha V, Shanmugam M, Tejasri G, Vidhu S. Career perspective among dental professionals in Tamil Nadu. J Educ Ethics Dent 2014;4:614.  Back to cited text no. 15
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Al-Sowygh ZH. Perceived causes of stress among Saudi dental students. King Saud Univ J Dent Sci 2013;4:7-15.  Back to cited text no. 16


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