According to the Lebanese order of dentists, the number of dental surgeons practicing in Lebanon until 1998 was 3372.
A more recent study shows a concentration of more than 30% of all dental surgeons in the capital Beirut. In general two third of dentists practicing in Lebanon are concentrated in Beirut and Mount Lebanon whereas the remaining third is distributed over the four governorates (North Lebanon, South Lebanon, Bekaa, Nabatieh).
The study also shows a big increase of the ratio of dentists per population over the last couple of decades. The concentration of dentists in Beirut is high and unbalanced when compared to the rest of the country. This report is based on WHO (World Health Organization), the highest source of health related information in the region.
The same report also shows an evolution in the number of dentists; the number has increased more than five times during the last thirty years. This number may increase further in the coming years given the existence of three faculties in dental medicine in Lebanon and adding to this the number of graduates coming from abroad, leading to a major problem facing the dental profession. In Lebanon we have three schools for dental surgery studies, here is the list:
Faculty of Dentistry LSU: Commonly known as St. Joseph School. The school began teaching dentistry in 1920. Access is conditioned by a contest. Its annual capacity is 40 students for dental surgery. It should be noted that its program and teaching language are in French.
Faculty of Dentistry, Lebanese University: It was established in 1985. Access is conditioned by a contest and its annual capacity is 40 students for dental surgery and the language of instruction is French.
Faculty of Medicine, Arab University: It started in 1995. Access is conditioned by a contest. Its annual capacity is 30 students and the language of instruction is English.
According to the above we can conclude that the dental system in Lebanon has become somehow weak: Ratio of dentists per population is very high and there is a misdistribution of dentists.
To remedy these shortcomings, some suggestions can be useful:
– Adopt the system of “numerous clauses” to limit the number of dentists that is constantly growing.
– Encourage dentists to settle in villages and in some governorates where the ratio of dentists to population is not high (South, Bekaa, Nabatieh).
– A better coverage of the profession to make medical care accessible to more people.