Is there a sound basis for deciding how many dentists should be trained to meet the dental needs of the Canadian population? Systematic Review of Literature (1968-1999)

Gerardo Maupomé, H. Jack Hann, Jeannine M. Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


A systematic review was conducted of the literature on human resources planning (HRP) in dentistry in Canada, critically assessing the scientific strength of 1968-1999 publications. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to 176 peer-reviewed publications and "grey literature" reports. Thirty papers were subsequently assessed for strength of design and relevance of evidence to objectively address HRP. Twelve papers were position statements or experts' reports not amenable for inclusion in the system. Of the remaining 18 papers, 4 were classified as projections from manpower-to- population ratios, 4 as dental practitioner opinion surveys, 8 as estimates of requisite demand to absorb current capacity and 2 as need-based, demand-weighted studies. Within the 30.5 years reviewed, 53.4% of papers were published between 1982 and 1987. Overall, many papers called for a reduction in human resources, a message that dominated HRP during the 1980s, or noted an increase in the demand for services. HRP publications often had questionable strength or analytic frameworks. The paradigm of busyness-scarcity evolved from a belief around an economic model for the profession into a fundamental tenet of HRP. A formal analysis to establish its existence beyond arbitrary dentist:population ratios has usually been lacking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-91
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Canadian Dental Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001



  • Canada
  • Dentists/supply and distribution
  • Health manpower

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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