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Dentistry recruitment strategy needed for N.B.

By Tara Clow May 10, 2024 | 1:32 PM

According to the New Brunswick Dental Society, the province could face a shortage of dental specialists in the coming years.

Executive Director Paul Blanchard says we currently have around 365 licensed dentists in the province, and 40 per cent are over the age of 50.

“We also have a shortage of dental assistants, and dental hygienists, and many clinics in the province are not accepting new patients currently,” says Blanchard.

Blanchard spoke about some of the dental schools in the region, including Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, but he says there is no contract between the province of New Brunswick and that school to say they’ll accept a certain number of New Brunswick students each year.

He adds that New Brunswick does have some arrangements with two Quebec universities, and they can accept up to a maximum of six students a year, but he doesn’t believe there is any follow-up on that arrangement.

“We have no idea how many students are being accepted on an annual basis in Quebec,” he says.

He feels the province needs to have a plan in place for the recruitment of dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, and even frontline staff.

“There’s labour shortages in New Brunswick just generally, so retention is a big issue for everyone and it’s certainly a big problem in dentistry,” Blanchard says.