America's Health Rankings, United Health Foundation Logo

Dental Care Providers
Dental Care Providers in United States
United States

Explore national- and state-level data for hundreds of health, environmental and socioeconomic measures, including background information about each measure. Use features on this page to find measures; view subpopulations, trends and rankings; and download and share content.

How to use this page

Dental Care Providers in depth:

Appears In:

Dental Care Providers by State

Number of general dentists and advanced practice dental therapists per 100,000 population

Dental Care Providers Trends

Number of general dentists and advanced practice dental therapists per 100,000 population

View All Populations

Dental Care Providers

About Dental Care Providers

US Value: 60.6

Top State(s): Alaska: 89.9

Bottom State(s): Delaware: 38.9

Definition: Number of general dentists and advanced practice dental therapists per 100,000 population

Data Source and Years: U.S. HHS, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, National Plan and Provider Enumeration System, September 2022

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of U.S. HHS, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, National Plan and Provider Enumeration System, United Health Foundation,, accessed 2023.

Despite projections of steady growth in the number of working dentists, the Health Resources and Services Administration has identified many areas and populations that have an inadequate supply of dentists to meet current or future needs. Dentists diagnose oral diseases, create treatment plans, promote oral health and disease prevention, perform surgical procedures and manage oral trauma. 

Oral health provides an indication of general health. Many health conditions, such as eating disorders, diabetes and immune disorders, have close connections to oral health. Oral infections and periodontal (gum) disease are also associated with heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Some of the most significant oral health disparities are in rural communities. Disparities in oral health care contribute to higher rates of dental caries and edentulism (toothlessness) in rural populations compared with urban populations. Contributing factors to these disparities include:

  • An inadequate supply of dentists.
  • Higher uninsurance rates and fewer dentists accepting Medicaid patients.
  • Patient difficulty in traveling to a dentist.
  • Poverty.
  • Lack of a fluoridated community water supply.
  • A growing population of older adults.

Strategies to increase the size of the dental workforce, particularly in rural communities, include: 

  • Expanding the roles of dental therapists, hygienists and assistants.
  • Targeting dental school recruitment efforts for rural and in-state students.
  • Training general/family practice physicians and primary care providers to conduct oral health exams and place fluoride varnish/sealants on children.
  • Establishing medical/dental mobile units for outreach services.
  • Teledentistry.
  • Strengthening incentives and educational loan repayment for dentists who choose to work in rural areas.

Healthy People 2030 has multiple objectives related to oral health, including increasing the use of the oral health care system and reducing the proportion of people who can’t get the dental care they need when they need it.

Braswell, Anne, and Nalo Johnson. 2013. “Rural America’s Oral Health Care Needs.” National Rural Health Association Policy Brief. National Rural Health Association.

Hannan, Casey J., Timothy L. Ricks, Lorena Espinoza, and Jane A. Weintraub. 2021. “Addressing Oral Health Inequities, Access to Care, Knowledge, and Behaviors.” Preventing Chronic Disease 18.

Kuthy, Raymond A., Susan C. McKernan, Jed S. Hand, and David C. Johnsen. 2009. “Dentist Workforce Trends in a Primarily Rural State.” The Journal of the American Dental Association 140 (12): 1527–34.

Langelier, Margaret. 2018. “The Impact of Changing Workforce Models on Access to Oral Health Care Services.” Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, October 23.

Munson, Bradley, and Marko Vujicic. 2021. “Projected Supply of Dentists in the United States, 2020 – 2040.” American Dental Association.

Potter, Wendell B. 2017. “Expanding the Dental Workforce to Improve Access and Reduce Disparities in Oral Health.” American Journal of Public Health 107 (S1): S26–27.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2000. “Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General.” Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health.

Current Reports

America’s Health Rankings builds on the work of the United Health Foundation to draw attention to public health and better understand the health of various populations. Our platform provides relevant information that policymakers, public health officials, advocates and leaders can use to effect change in their communities.

We have developed detailed analyses on the health of key populations in the country, including women and children, seniors and those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, in addition to a deep dive into health disparities across the country.