Last month, a report indicated that while Georgia has a low number of dentists per capita, a large majority of them still have room in their practices to accept new patients. The Georgia Dental Association, which commissioned the report, said the data show the state does not have a shortage of dentists.
But in a new GHN Commentary, longtime dental hygienist Suzanne Newkirk and dental author Lynne Slim argue that oral health care is still effectively out of reach for thousands of low-income Georgians.
The many Georgians who lack dental insurance or can’t afford basic preventive dental care are trapped in “a dental desert,’’ Newkirk and Slim say.
“A combined, consistent effort is urgently needed in Georgia to improve oral health care,’’ they say. Lessening the state’s restrictions on dental hygienists’ work would be a major step toward solving the problem, they contend.
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