Shortage on dentists affects children's care

Published On: Jun 25 2013 12:40:07 AM EDT

Nearly 45 million Americans live in areas with a dentist shortage. More than 20 percent of people in six states have little or no access to dentists. In addition, many dentists do not participate in Medicaid.

In 2011, more than 60 percent of children in Michigan that were enrolled in Medicaid were not able to see a dentist.

According to an estimate by the federal government, it would take more than 6,000 new dentists to eliminate the nation's shortage.

However, in the next year, millions of children will gain dental coverage. The problem -- they will join a system that already lacks sufficient workforce to those already insured.

The Pew's Children's Dental Campaign report explores solutions to expand the reach of dental teams to serve more Americans.

The full report and methodology of this report will be available Tuesday at pewstates.org.

The website also examines the top 10 states with:

  • Worst dentist shortage
  • Low-income children least likely to receive dental care
  • Largest share of dentists approaching retirement

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