Gender Distribution of Dentists in Nigeria, 1981 to 2000

Ogunbodede, E.  2004.  Gender Distribution of Dentists in Nigeria, 1981 to 2000, 2004/08/01. Journal of dental education. 68:15-8.


In Nigeria, modern dental practice is relatively recent. The dawn can be traced to 1915 when the first government dentist was employed in Lagos, then the country's capital. There are presently four dental schools in the country; each graduates an average of thirty dentists annually. The present study determined the trends in the gender distribution of dental practitioners over the twenty-year period from 1981 to 2000 and used available data to project into the future. Data was collected from governmental and nongovernmental publications. The results indicate that there are now 2,598 licensed dentists serving the country's population of 123 million. A vast majority of these dentists work in urban centers, and only about 20 percent work in the rural areas where over 70 percent of Nigerians reside. There has been a male preponderance in the number of practicing dentists: only fifty-eight (15.3 percent) of 379 dental practitioners were female in 1981, though this figure has risen steadily to 35.1 percent of 2,598 dentists at the end of 2000. However, over the twenty-year period, the percentage of females was consistently higher among dental than medical practitioners. In 1981, for example, the percentage female was 15.0 among both dental and medical practitioners, but by the end of 2000 this had increased to 35.1 percent among dental practitioners and only 19.0 percent among medical practitioners. The imbalance in gender distribution of dental practitioners is steadily normalizing, and projections, using current trends, indicate that gender balance will be attained in the year 2015.