Rural Dentistry: Availability, Practice, and Access


This study used secondary data sources such as the Area Resource File, American Dental Association data, and state-level professional licensure data to describe the supply of dental providers in several states, with particular attention to the supply of providers in rural areas. Surveys were administered to rural dentists in California, Maine, Missouri, and Alabama to describe the rural dental provider population in those states with respect to demography, practice characteristics, practice satisfaction, use of dental hygienists, Medicaid and CHIP practices, and attitudes towards the use of alternative sources of dental care such as using medical providers to apply sealants in the pediatric population. The study elucidates, from the dental provider perspective, the barriers to access to dental care for rural residents and what can be done to promote rural dental practice. Funded by HRSA’s ORHP.