The University of Lagos in Nigeria is the first dental university in Africa and the oldest. The University of Lagos pushes out around 100 dentists yearly, and represents one of the less than 20 dental schools in Africa.
Dental Development in Nigeria
While some would call the development of dental education in Nigeria a surprising success, this is only regarding the educational regiment however. Nigeria is still a developing nation, with many of the characteristics people expect to see in developing nations. Over half of the nation is underage and there are a significant variety of languages present which both represent difficulties both in educating dentists and in the practical implementation of dental service by certified professionals.
Nigeria is the most populous African nation, the largest primarily Black nation on the planet. Yet there are currently less than 2,500 certified dentists in all of Nigeria, with practical estimates suggesting that there are easily 1500 practicing without certification. In contrast there are over 10,000 dentists in Florida alone. If that’s not astonishing, a report from 2001 stated that there were only 12 orthodontists were practicing in the entire country.
As far as dental technology goes, there is a standing debate over whether the creation of dental technology is the occupation of scientific and technical professionals (as it is considered in the US) or artisans.
Nigerian dentistry has only recently begun turning its attention towards oral disease. Many Nigerians suffer from an oral disease called Dental caries which effects children. Due to the naturally young population in Nigeria, this disease thrives. One report noted that a third of the children studied had dental caries. The same report suggested that dental hygiene was largely ignored in Africa. The report lamented that while the disease causes significant suffering in individuals, it was not one of the more dangerous diseases in Africa, leading it to be largely ignored.