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Clinical Dental Practice and Management health

Clinical dental practice and management today

The dental profession’s success in reducing caries, period entities, and tooth loss has dramatically improved the oral health status of the United States population. Tooth loss can be categorized by extent ––complete loss of teeth (or complete edentulous) and partial loss of teeth, ranging from one to many (partial edentulous). Many factors have contributed to this improvement in the nation’s oral health including the widespread use of fluoride, an increase in preventive services, and more clinical time dedicate[1]end to the prevention and treatment of oral diseases. Despite these advances, demand for dental serve[1]ices is at an all-time high. Higher income and eddo[1]national levels and increased access to dental insure[1]acne have resulted in increased care and changing expectations among both dental professionals and patients. In 1996, 65% of persons two years of age and older visited a dentist (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS], 2000a).

The proportion of untreated dental caries in school children has been declining overall, but has increased among children six to eight years old. The average number of DMFS (decayed missing filled surfaces) per child among children 6-18 years old was 1.9 in 1991, down from 4.4 in 1974. By age 17, only 16% of children are caries free in their perm[1]next dentition. However, 85% of 14 year-olds do not have dental sealants (USDHHS, 2000a). As shown in Table 3.1, complete edentulous is decrees[1]in for all ages, with a corresponding increase in ratio of partial edentulous versus complete Eden[1]tulips (Miller et al, 1987)

Clinical dental care is influx[1]ended largely by the demography[1]ices of the population, patterns of dental disease, and they expect[1]tons of both patients and providers. The population is growing. Demographically, it is becoming older and more culture[1]ally diverse. The average Amery[1]can have fewer caries and is retaining[1]king more teeth into old age. As measured by DMFS (decayed, missing, and filled surfaces) the decline in caries was 64% from 1971-1974 to 1988-1994 (USD[1]HHS, 2000b; and Miller et al, 1987). According to Healthy People 2010, 25% of children have 80% of pediatric dental caries.

Community-based oral disease prevention programs

Dental professionals traditionally have played a leadership role in the implementation of commune[1]tee-based preventive programs. Community-based prevention programs, such as community water fluoridation, sealant programs, or oral cancer screen[1]in will continue to play an important role in improve[1]in the public’s oral health.

Fluoridation, for example, benefits more than 150,000,000 Americans, and is the most cost-effective means to prevent dental caries. The dental profession will continue to support community-based preventive programs, such as water fluoridation. This support will be need[1]end to strengthen local, state and federal public health capacity to track disease patterns, develop policy, and assure that people are linked with appropriate education, preventive, and clinical services.

Specialty Training

The ratio of general dentists to dental specialists has remained stable at 4:1 for many years, but evidence suggests that this ratio may decrease to 3:1 early in the 21st century. While the number of dental school graduates has declined, the number of graduates of specialty training programs remained steady at 1,200. Ultimately, this trend will shift the percentage of specialists to one-third of practicing dentists.

Dental Workforce Diversity

By the year 2020 the United States population is expected to grow to 332,145,221. The rate of growth is expected to be 10% per decade from 1990 to 2020. During this period it is anticipated that 55% of the growth in the United States popup[1]Latino will be due to immigrants and their descend[1]dents. Growth will be greatest among Hispanics and African Americans (Murdock and Hogue, 1998). Since 1990, however, there has been a 23% decline in dental school enrollment of Hispanics, African Americans, and Native American students (valachovic 2000). Asian Pacific Islanders reaper[1]scented 24.5% of first year enrollees in 1998. Consequently, at the very time the United States population is becoming increasingly diverse, the future supply of dentists is becoming less represent[1]dative of the population it will serve

National Dental Workforce Projections

To develop a national dental workforce policy, one must understand the productive capacity of the dental workforce. One dental workforce objective could be to keep the productive capacity of the den[1]tall workforce constant in relation to the United States population in 2020 compared to 2000.

In 2000:

◆ United States population was 281,421,906;

◆ Active private practitioners numbered 153,431; and,

◆ Dentists-per-100,000-population ratio was 54.5.

Geographic Distribution of Practicing Dentists

There are rather pronounced geographic umbel[1]acnes in the dental workforce. One of the reasons for these geographic imbalances is the rapid shifts that are occurring in the United States population, which increased from 248.7 million to 281.4 million between 1990 and 2000––a 13.2% increase. The largest increases occurred in the Western and Southern states: Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Georgia, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Washington, Oregon, and New Mexico all showed 20.0% or greater increases in their populations. Ohio, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Dakota showed smaller gains (less than 5.0%). Only the District of Columbia lost population with a decrease of 5.7%. (See  Figure 3.4.)

Last word

Regional workforce issues do exist and may become more pronounced in the future. However, given these widely varying workforce Condi[1]tons among the states, it is apparent that one overall national policy will not fit the specific needs of various states. States with a sufficient number of practitioners will require a different policy than those states in which the number of dentists is declining. Those latter states face potentially serious workforce issues that should be addressed with their state-specific needs and cir[1]substances in mind.

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