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Dental education and care in Papua New Guinea

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 18:53 authored by Crocombe, L, Mahmood Siddiqi, Shahrukh KhanShahrukh Khan, Silvana BettiolSilvana Bettiol

Objectives: To describe the state of dental education and supply of dental care in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Methods: Over five years during regular visits to PNG, local dental educators, senior PNG university staff, local policy makers, politicians and Australian visiting dental professionals were interviewed about PNG student education and dental care.

Results: In 1997, only seven PNG dentists were in active practice, though there were 120 therapists on very low salaries. Much of the dental teaching facility had been dismantled, and nothing worked on the ten remaining dental chairs. Dentistry and oral health therapy courses recommenced in 2005. Since then 113 BDS students have graduated and around 75% have completed postgraduate residency programs. A postgraduate Diploma in Dentistry has been introduced, two oral and maxillofacial surgeons have been trained. Most Provinces now have at least two dentists. The PNG Dental Association was established. Research has begun to establish baseline oral health, water fluoride levels, the use of atraumatic treatment, oral cancer screening and treatments. The University of PNG Open College is establishing a dental nurse program based on the Australian dental assistant training accredited scheme. However, the PNG Government may not be able to afford to employ more dentists. Continued funding of the dental school remains a concern. Hence, a non-profit Foundation is being established to supply PNG Province-funded dental treatment. The Open College will provide buildings in the Provinces for the dental clinics and dental chairs have been obtained from the old Adelaide Dental Hospital.

Conclusions: Dental education and supply of dental care has improved in PNG since 1997, but the situation is precarious and much more work needs to be done. The future direction is to establish and implement a five-year strategic plan for PNG dentistry.


Publication title

IADR/AADR/CADR General Session & Exhibition


School of Health Sciences

Event title

IADR/AADR/CADR General Session & Exhibition

Event Venue

Vancouver, Canada

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Date of Event (End Date)


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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Health education and promotion; Health inequalities; Dental health

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