A report issued by the Center for Health Workforce Studies, School of Public Health at the University of Albany, found that, “limited access to oral health services is a persistent problem in some geographic areas and for some populations. Improving access to oral health services is a difficult proposition that requires multifaceted strategies.” This particular problem is evident in the state of Michigan, in particular, Detroit.
As many of you already know Detroit filed for bankruptcy back in 2013 after it was unable to come to an agreement with it’s creditors, unions and pension boards. The years leading up to the bankruptcy have been rough for Detroit with some many neighborhoods looking like ghost towns because the loss of jobs, companies moving or shutting down.
So how does this relate to dentistry? Well considering that over 50% of the number of Michigan’s dentist are 55 or over that means a large amount of them will be going into retirement with a new stream of dentists replacing them. Therefore the shortage is real.
Why isn’t there a new stream of dentists in Michigan in particular Detroit? Ask anyone and see if Detroit is a desirable place to live or have a family. That means without the proper needed healthcare practitioners available, finding quality dental care will become increasingly problematic for Michigan residents.
So what is the answer? One idea is to change legislation on who can actually provide this type of care. For instance if dental hygienists were able to get advanced training that will allow them to practice, this would greatly help for those who need oral care desperately like children, pregnant women, the elderly and the developmentally disabled.