Background: The Australian dental workforce is ageing and current shortages have been predicted to worsen with the retirement of the growing contingent of older dentists. However, these predictions have been based on retirement trends of previous generations and little is known about the retirement intentions of today's older dentists.
Methods: The Dentist Retirement Intentions Survey was mailed to 768 NSW Australian Dental Association members aged over 50 and achieved a response rate of 20%. T-tests, ANOVAs and multivariate regression were used to analyse the data.
Results: On average, participants intend to retire at the age of 66, although they would prefer to do so earlier (p < 0.05). Those intending to leave the workforce within the next 5 years represent 43%. The most common reasons dentists expect to retire are to have more leisure time, to be able to afford to stop working, and job stress or pressure.
Conclusions: The current generation of older dentists intends to retire later than their predecessors. Most wish to remain involved in dentistry in some capacity following retirement, and may assist in overcoming workforce shortages, either by practising part time or training dental students.