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ADA Health Policy Institute

Patients

Could you give me the ADA-recommended ideal dentist to patient ratio?

No. It is the ADA’s view is that a simple dentist to patient ratio cannot take into account the differing economic environments from region to region, state to state, urban to rural, so the ADA does not give any kind of recommended dentist to patient ratio.

 

How often do people visit a dentist?

In 2014, 52.3% of adults reported that they had visited the dentist every six months the last few year, 15.4% reported once per year, and 11.0% reported once every two to three years. More than one in five (21.3%) said that they had not visited the dentist in the last few years.

Among parents of children under 18, 64.6% reported that their children had visited the dentist every six months, 20.3% once per year, and 4.4% once every two to three years. Just over one in ten (10.7%) said that their children had not visited the dentist in the last few years.

When adults and children are categorized by health insurance status, the frequency of dental visits within the last few years varies.

Source: Key Differences in Dental Care Seeking Behavior between Medicaid and Non-Medicaid Adults and Children. Health Policy Institute Research Brief. Available as a free download.

 

Why do people not visit their dentists?

In 2014, approximately 22.9% of adults indicated that they are either unsure or definitely do not plan to visit a dentist in the next 12 months.

Overall, top reasons include cost, having a healthy mouth (i.e., not needing dental care), and not having time to get to a dentist. Specifically, 40.2% of adults indicated that they will forgo dental care due to cost, 32.7% because they do not need dental care, and 14.1% because they do not have the time to get to a dentist.

However, when adults are categorized by age, household income, and health insurance status, the top three reasons for not planning to visit a dentist vary.

Source: Why Adults Forgo Dental Care: Evidence from a New National Survey. Health Policy Institute Research Brief. Available as a free download.