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Letters: Issues for new dentists

March 07, 2016 Recent topics discussed in the ADA News have prompted me to write. I graduated from dental school in 1974. New dentists were concerned with three issues. These issues are still problematic to dentistry today.

New graduates questioned the need for state or regional board examinations. Accepted to accredited dental schools, we were educated for four years. During this time students were observed and tested. Every phase of our progress was evaluated. Final examinations in all subjects and a diploma testified to our competency. Why then were we required to pass a one-day board exam? This issue is still being debated.

Reciprocity was an issue that still remains a problem. The freedom of a dentist to obtain a license in each state is more relevant today. Our population is more mobile. More women have entered the profession. Statistics indicate that women are less likely to own a practice. And even if they do, should a spouse be transferred to another state, can they obtain a license based on their credentials?

Dentists of the baby boomer generation are at an age where they may consider selling their practices and relocating to other states. Many may stop practicing. However, some may want to continue on a limited basis. Reciprocity is a relevant issue for them.

When I graduated, young dentists were confronted by the busyness issue. There were too many dentists, too few patients. Numerous articles in various periodicals have addressed the same problem today. Patient visits to the dentist declined before the 2008 recession, and this continues today. Numerous dentists tell me that they are not as busy as they would like to be. Many do not like participating with insurance plans but this is necessary to maintain patients. Also, states still continue to open or consider new dental schools.

I do not profess to know the solutions to these problems. All I can say is that in 42 years they are still problems.

Jeffrey Leitner, D.M.D.
Schenectady, New York