Dental therapist job satisfaction and intention to leave: A cross-sectional study




vulnerable, dismantling, apartheid era


Dental therapy is a mid-level oral health profession that was introduced to the South African health system more than four decades ago, during the apartheid era. The purpose for the introduction of this profession was to meet the oral health needs of the underserved majority population1,2,3. However, even with the dismantling of apartheid and the creation of a democratic state, disparities in access to basic oral healthcare persist.1 Local studies have reported limited access to oral health services, especially among the disadvantaged and vulnerable population groups where the highest burden of oral diseases has been reported.4,5,6


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Hugo J. Mid-level health workers in South Africa: not an easy option: human resources. South African Health Review. 2005;2005(1):148-58

Lalloo R. A national human resources plan for oral health: is it feasible? South African Dental Journal. 2007;62(8):360-4

Singh PK. The dental therapy curriculum: meeting needs and challenges for oral health care in South Africa. 2011

Van Wyk P, Louw A, Du Plessis J. Caries status and treatment needs in South Africa: report of the 1999-2002 National Children’s Oral Health Survey. SADJ: journal of the South African Dental Association = tydskrif van die Suid-Afrikaanse Tandheelkundige

Vereniging. 2004;59(6):238, 40-2 DOI:

Thekiso M, Yengopal V, Nqcobo C. Caries status among children in the West Rand District of Gauteng Province, South Africa, South African Dental Journal, 67 (7) 2012: pp. 318-320. South African Dental Journal. 2013;68(10):477

Joosab Z, Yengopal V, Nqcobo C. Caries prevalence among HIV-infected children between four and ten years old at a paediatric virology out-patients ward in Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, South Africa. South African Dental Journal.


Bailit HL, Beazoglou TJ, DeVitto J, McGowan T, Myne-Joslin V. Impact of dental therapists on productivity and finances: I. Literature review. Journal of Dental Education. 2012;76(8):1061-7 DOI:

Kruger E, Smith K, Tennant M. Non-working dental therapists: opportunities to ameliorate workforce shortages. Australian Dental Journal. 2007;52(1):22-5 DOI:

HPCSA. HPCSA annual report. 2018/19

Singh P, Combrinck M. Profile of the dental therapy graduate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal: scientific. South African Dental Journal. 2011;66(10):468-74

Sodo PP, Jewett S, Nemutandani MS, Yengopal V. Attrition of dental therapists in South Africa – A 42-year review. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. 2022 DOI:

Lopes SC, Guerra-Arias M, Buchan J, Pozo-Martin F, Nove A. A rapid review of the rate of attrition from the health workforce. Human resources for health. 2017;15(1):1-9 DOI:

Arati Sudhir Bhokare PDM, Prajakta Ashok Rajput. A Study of Employee Attrition Rate in Hospital Sector. International Journal of Engineering Technology Science and Research. 2017;4(12)

Mobley WH. Some unanswered questions in turnover and withdrawal research. Academy of Management Review. 1982;7(1):111-6 DOI:

Burch V, McKinley D, Van Wyk J, Kiguli-Walube S, Cameron D, Cilliers F, et al. Career intentions of medical students trained in six sub-Saharan African countries. Education for Health. 2011;24(3):614 DOI:

Al Mamun CA, Hasan MN. Factors affecting employee turnover and sound retention strategies in business organization: A conceptual view. Problems and Perspectives in Management. 2017(15, Iss. 1):63-71 DOI:

Lok P, Crawford J. The effect of organisational culture and leadership style on job satisfaction and organisational commitment: A cross-national comparison. Journal of Management Development. 2004 DOI:

Blaauw D, Ditlopo P, Maseko F, Chirwa M, Mwisongo A, Bidwell P, et al. Comparing the job satisfaction and intention to leave of different categories of health workers in Tanzania, Malawi, and South Africa. Global health action. 2013;6(1):19287 DOI:

Laminman KD. Attrition in occupational therapy: perceptions and intentions of Manitoba occupational therapists. 2007

Singh PK. Job satisfaction among dental therapists in South Africa. Journal of Public Health Dentistry. 2014;74(1):28-33 DOI:

Gordon NA. Job satisfaction and working practices of South Africa dental therapists and oral hygienists. 2015

Bradley S, McAuliffe E. Mid-level providers in emergency obstetric and newborn health care: factors affecting their performance and retention within the Malawian health system. Human Resources for Health. 2009;7(1):1-8 DOI:

Kols A, Kibwana S, Molla Y, Ayalew F, Teshome M, van Roosmalen J, et al. Factors predicting Ethiopian anesthetists’ intention to leave their job. World Journal of Surgery. 2018;42(5):1262-9 DOI:

Chiat LC, Panatik SA. Perceptions of employee turnover intention by Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory: A systematic literature review. Journal of Research in Psychology. 2019;1(2):10-5 DOI:

Alshmemri M, Shahwan-Akl L, Maude P. Herzberg’s two-factor theory. Life Science Journal. 2017;14(5):12-6

Raosoft I. Sample size calculator. Available from: 2004

Smerek RE, Peterson M. Examining Herzberg’s theory: Improving job satisfaction among non-academic employees at a university. Research in higher education. 2007;48(2):229-50 DOI:

Braun V, Clarke V. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology. 2006;3(2):77-101 DOI:

Masetla MM, Mthethwa SR. Dental Therapy Student cohorts: Trends in enrolment and progress at a South African University. South African Dental Journal. 2018;73(6):406-10 DOI:

Africa DoSS. Mid-year population estimates. STATISTICAL RELEASE. 28 July 2022

McIntyre D. Private sector involvement in funding and providing health services in South Africa: implications for equity and access to health care. EQUINET, Harare: Health Economics Unit. 2010

Carrington SD, Treharne GJ, Moffat SM. Job satisfaction and career prospects of Oral Health Therapists in Aotearoa/New Zealand: A research update and call for further research in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Dental and Oral Health Therapy. 2020

Fernández D, Khareedi R, Rohan M. A survey of the work force experiences and job satisfaction of dental therapists and oral health therapists in New Zealand. ANZ J Dent Oral Health Therapy. 2020;8:23-7

Chen D, Hayes MJ, Holden AC. Investigation into the enablers and barriers of career satisfaction among Australian oral health therapists. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. 2022 DOI:

Deriba BK, Sinke SO, Ereso BM, Badacho AS. Health professionals’ job satisfaction and associated factors at public health centers in West Ethiopia. Human resources for health. 2017;15(1):1-7 DOI:

Herzberg F. Motivation to work: Routledge; 2017 DOI:


Reid S. Community service for health professionals: human resources. South African Health Review. 2002;2002(1):135-60

Parker K, Horowitz JM. Majority of workers who quit a job in 2021 cite low pay, no opportunities for advancement, feeling disrespected. Pew Research Center. 2022




How to Cite

Sodo, P., Yengopal, V., Nemutandani, S., Muslim, T. A., & Jewett, S. (2023). Dental therapist job satisfaction and intention to leave: A cross-sectional study. South African Dental Journal, 78(07), 338–349.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 > >>