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Dental care difficult to find in some California counties
Updated: 5/29/2009 3:00:06 PM

Despite having more dentists per person than any other state, several areas of California do not have enough dentists to serve the population, making access to dental care even harder for those who may not have dental insurance, according to a report by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

The report notes that Alpine County has no dentists at all. All in all it says there are 233 areas statewide that qualify as dental health professional shortage areas. This means the area has one or fewer dentists for every 5,000 people, or one in 4,000 if it is a place with a high population need.

Furthermore, only about 28 percent of dentists in private practice provide care for a substantial number of patients with public dental insurance, states the report.

On the other side of the country, a similar problem was reported earlier this month in Maine. Officials from the University of New England told the Portland Press Herald that there was approximately one dentist per 3,400 Maine residents. In the counties of Somerset and Waldo, there was reportedly only one dentist per 4,000 residents.
The average U.S. ratio is reportedly one dentist per 1,660 people.

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