The idea of a a mandatory retirement age for dentists was recently thrust into the spotlight when the European Court of Justice ruled in favor of Germany’s law mandating retirement for dentists and firefighters past a certain age, finding it does not constitute age discrimination.

In a survey of 193 dental professionals in the US, however, only 1 dentist in 10 supported the idea of a mandatory retirement age. The survey was conducted by The Wealthy Dentist, a marketing and consulting Web site.

A California orthodontists responded, "In Germany and in Europe, there is a mandatory retirement age for workers/employees, so why not for dentists? I do not think it has to do with competence, but rather with social economy and a spot for young dentists to practice.”

A dentist from Oregon who does some orthodontic procedures countered: “Not only do people’s skills vary, different aspects of dentistry demand different levels of skills. In addition to orthodontics, I practice dental sleep medicine (oral appliances for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea). I could practice the latter until they take me out on a stretcher."

And one orthodontist from Colorago stated his opinion on the subject succinctly: “Specialties vary. People vary. It’s insane to consider seriously.”