Rob Raible: Telephone: 202.789.5166 Email: email@example.com
Richard Green: Telephone: 202.789.5170 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
As attention to the dental crisis in America increases, a "shortage of dentists" is frequently cited as a major barrier to access to care for underserved populations. Proponents of this view further state that retirement among Baby Boomer dentists will worsen the problem. This then leads to calls for alternative providers to solve this workforce shortage. But is the size of the dentist workforce really a major factor affecting access disparities? The facts cast serious doubt on that notion.
If the numbers of HPSAs and dentists do not correlate to access to dental care, what can be done to address the dental crisis in America? This year, the American Dental Association launched a major campaign, Action for Dental Health, to achieve a specific set of bold goals to dramatically reduce untreated dental disease in America by providing care now to people suffering with untreated disease, strengthening and expanding the public/private safety net to provide more care to more Americans, and bringing dental health education and disease prevention into communities. Action for Dental Health will demonstrate measureable success in improving dental health in underserved communities without major increases in the numbers of dentists or by adding additional providers to treat cavities, by better utilizing and improving resources already available.