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Health

California's Supply Of Dentists In State Of Flux

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research says a shortage of dentists could come back to bite California.

The center’s new report shows more than 35,000 dentists are registered to practice in the state.

But a growing percentage are choosing to move elsewhere. In addition, more young dentists are going into specialties, which could reduce access to general care.

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UCLA’s Naderah Pourat said another problem is where dentists choose to practice.

“There’s definitely clusters in urban and suburban areas, and not enough in some of the rural areas or underserved areas. That’s the challenge we have," Pourat explained.

The San Joaquin Valley has the state’s lowest ratio of dentists to patients. The highest is in the San Francisco Bay Area.