Objectives: Demand for dental care is expected to outpace supply through 2025. The objectives of this study were to determine the extent of pediatric dental care shortages in Georgia and to develop a general method for estimation that can be applied to other states. Methods:We estimated supply and demand for pediatric preventive dental care for the 159 counties in Georgia in 2015. We compared pediatric preventive dental care shortage areas (where demand exceeded twice the supply) designated by our methods with dental health professional shortage areas designated by the Health Resources & Services Administration. We estimated caries risk from a multivariate analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data and national census data. We estimated county-level demand based on the time needed to perform preventive dental care services and the proportion of time that dentists spend on pediatric preventive dental care services from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Results: Pediatric preventive dental care supply exceeded demand in Georgia in 75 counties: the average annual county-level pediatric preventive dental care demand was 16 866 hours, and the supply was 32 969 hours. We identified 41 counties as pediatric dental care shortage areas, 14 of which had not been designated by the Health Resources & Services Administration. Conclusions: Age- and service-specific information on dental care shortage areas could result in more efficient provider staffing and geographic targeting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health