More colleges want to start dental schools in Florida.
The University of Florida is the only college in the state with a dental school as of now, but at least three other schools want to start their own.
The Board of Governors for the State University System listened to a report recently that indicates that there will be enough new dentists beginning their careers through 2050 to make more dental schools worthwhile. There could be around 3,000 new dentists in Florida per decade to offset any possible costs.
The issue is that many of Florida’s dentists are located in south Florida, not necessarily the panhandle or other parts of the state. The rest of the state is where the need exists for more dentists.
The University of Central Florida, Florida A&M University and Florida Atlantic University are the colleges looking to add dental schools. When a university has a dental school, it generally receives more money that funds research. But they aren’t cheap to start or maintain because the average school spent about $93,000 per dental student in 2007, according to the American Dental Association.
The state of Florida has more than 10,000 dentists, which puts the state fourth in the United States. A better way for the state to spend money may be to provide an incentive program for dentists who work in the rural areas of Florida.
Florida A&M will try to add an influx of dentists to the rural areas of Florida if it starts its own dental school. This issue will be voted on in August.