If Dental Colleges were Dentist-Producing Factories …

Farhan Raza Khan   BDS, MS, MCPS, FCPS

A factory is a place where products are manufactured from the raw materials. For any factory to prosper, there are few pre-requisites:

• It produces goods that are in demand by the public
• There must be some rules and regulation framework under which it operates
• Quality control mechanism
• Economic sustainability of the production
• A mission and vision statement for it to aspire its goals
• Warranty and after sales service of its products

Taking this analogy forward, a dental college is a place where future dentists are produced. In other words, dental institutions are dentist producing factories.1 Therefore, it would be interesting to apply the above principles on these institutions. Let’s discuss this.


Pakistan is a country with an estimated population of over 190 million. The numbers of registered dentists are less than 18,000 which make the dentist to population ratio > 1:10,000. It means that there is a lot of room for the factories (dental colleges) to pump out their products (dentists) into the market. However, the catch here is that most of the dentists are based in the 10 big cities of Pakistan (Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Abbottabad, DG Khan, Hyderabad and Quetta) showing virtually no interest to work in the rural settings. Therefore, a significantly skewed distribution of providers makes an even supply of the product (dentists) to the needy (patients residing in rural Pakistan) impossible.


With bodies like PMDC, CPSP, HEC and PHC, the stringent rules and regulations are there to regulate the profession. These bodies carry out all the checks and balances regarding the quality assurance and assessment of the final product (graduating dentist). This ensures that dentist once graduated possess all the right competencies to practice independently and serves as a safe and ethical practitioner.

Consultant & Head of Dentistry, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan


DOI: https://doi.org/10.25301/JPDA.263.99