Out of the 93 counties in Nebraska, 48 are designated as a dentistry shortage area and 20 counties don’t have a dentist at all. Those are some of the results from a study conducted by the Center for Health Policy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Dr. Kim McFarland co-authored the study and is a professor at UNMC’s College of Dentistry and says many dentists in their 70’s and 80’s are still practicing in rural areas so one goal is to increase the number of those wanting to set up shop in those rural areas.
McFarland says the study also shows several solutions to this pressing problem.
Dr. McFarland says increasing the number of graduates isn’t the answer because the two dental schools in the state are at capacity. She says another possibility to get more dentists interested in practicing in rural areas would be to increase the student loan reimbursement rate.