Geographic Distribution of Dentists in California Dental Shortage Areas


Elizabeth Mertz, Kevin Grumbach, Laurie MacIntosh, Janet M. Coffman

January 1, 2000

Access to dental services in California is an issue of increasing concern to federal and state policy makers, as demonstrated by both new legislation addressing access to dental care and increased funding for existing programs. Recent research has shown that many Californians do not receive regular dental care. This report provides information on the numbers and distribution of “active” (i.e. presumed to be practicing) dentists in the state of California. The purpose of this report is to highlight current areas of clear “shortage” where the number of dentists is below the federal level to be considered a Dental Health Professional Shortage Area (DHPSA). Of particular concern are the geographic areas in the state that have very few dentists or no dentists at all. This assessment is meant to provide a baseline source of data upon which a variety of state, federal or other programs may build future efforts at increasing access to dental services. It also provides a starting point for future research on access to and availability of dental care. Finally it provides an overview of current programs that address the issue of access to dental care.