Baby boomer retirement and the future of dentistry

D. J. Schofield*, S. L. Fletcher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The dental workforce, like the Australian population, is ageing. As the large baby boomer cohort retires dental shortages will likely increase. Methods: Australian Bureau of Statistics census data from 1986 to 2001 were used to examine ageing of the dental workforce and attrition of dentists aged 50 years and over. The number of dentists to retire was projected over the next 20 years. Results: Since 1986, the dental workforce has aged significantly (p<0.01). About half of the current dental workforce is projected to retire by 2026. Generation X dentists are significantly less likely to work long hours than the baby boomer cohort of dentists (p<0.01). This is partly due to an increase in the proportion of women in the dental workforce and male Generation X dentists being less likely to work long hours (>41 per week) than male baby boomer dentists (p<0.01). Conclusions: Ageing of the workforce will have an impact on dentistry later than on some other professions due to the 35 per cent of dentists who work beyond 65 years of age. Nonetheless, existing dental shortages are likely to be exacerbated over the short term by the 22 per cent of dentists projected to retire over the next 10 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-143
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Dental Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • dentistry
  • workforce
  • ageing
  • retirement
  • labour force


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