Dentistry in the 20. century - part 4
The 1960s and 1970s saw the emergence of comprehensive care, growth in use of auxiliaries, the beginnings of prepaid dental insurance, and the development of a community outlook in dentistry. Growth in the number of dentists and in dental business was sharp, in retrospect perhaps too sharp.
The economic letdown following the Vietnam War (1964-75), added to the decline in dental caries among children, led to a growing perception of an oversupply of dentists, despite increasing public utilization of services and continued growth of dental insurance. During the 1980s, enrollment in dental schools dropped considerably from its peak during 1977-79 and rose only a little from these levels through the mid-1990s.
In response, 7 dental schools closed during this period Applications to dental schools picked up again in the late 1990s, and new dental schools opened in Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. In the early twenty-first century there were 56 dental schools in the U.S.
In the new century, the major oral diseases are better controlled than ever, and dental practice will develop accordingly. Research in molecular biology is promising a new understanding of many diseases, including those oral diseases that currently are poorly understood and that to date have not been treated in dental practice. Other features that will shape dental practice in the new century are the developments in dental insurance, changing demographic profile, disease patterns, and new restorative materials. Infection-control procedures and their associated regulations had become standard practice by the 1990s.
Dentistry, Dental Practice, and the Community