Access to oral health services is a problem for all segments of the U.S. population, and especially problematic for vulnerable populations, such as rural and underserved populations. The many challenges to improving access to oral health services include the lack of coordination and integration among the oral health, public health, and medical health care systems; misaligned payment and education systems that focus on the treatment of dental disease rather than prevention; the lack of a robust evidence base for many dental procedures and workforce models; and regulatory barriers that prevent the exploration of alternative models of care.
This volume, the summary of a three-day workshop, evaluates the sufficiency of the U.S. oral health workforce to consider three key questions:
- What is the current status of access to oral health services for the U.S. population?
- What workforce strategies hold promise to improve access to oral health services?
- How can policy makers, state and federal governments, and oral health care providers and practitioners improve the regulations and structure of the oral health care system to improve access to oral health services?