MEDFORD, Ore. – A new Pew research report shows that Oregon has a critical shortage of dentists.
According to the report, nearly a fifth of all Oregonians are underserved, meaning they have difficulty getting routine dental care. That statistic ranks the state as the tenth worst overall.
The report also claims that the problem is worse in rural areas and among low-income patients.
Officials with La Clinica say they have been seeing this trend for a while.
“While there may be a dentist in town, they may not have openings or the fees may be too high for them, especially for the uninsured population,” said Interim Dental Director Amy Fine. “Or for those who might be on a state insured program, there may not be many providers.”
Some providers in Oregon can get support on their student loans by working in rural areas.
Lawmakers are also considering a bill that would provide free tuition and fees to some health care students in exchange for working in those areas. That bill currently awaits the Governor’s signature.