Kansas Deals with Lack of Dentists



There are 13 counties in Kansas that don’t have a single dentist. There are 93 counties that deal with dental care provider shortages.

These numbers are clearly a problem. That’s why the Kansas Action for Children is hoping the Kansas legislature will pass a piece of legislation that would enable training and licensing of more registered dental practitioners.

If the bill gets passed, dental practitioners would have the ability to perform 30 kinds procedures as long as they are supervised by a dentist. As of now, the bill is being supported by the Kansas Action for Children, the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition and the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved.

The Kansas Dental Association is against this bill because the association doesn’t believe dentistry should be performed by people who aren’t licensed and haven’t attended accredited dental schools. Since the association believes the standard of care would be lowered, it put together its own initiative to help fix this problem.

This bill proposed by the KDA would start a loan program, rejuvenate the funds for the Donated Dental Service program and add dental coverage for Medicaid patients.

The more urban areas of Kansas aren’t having these difficulties. The state average two years ago was one dentist for every 2,083 people, according to the Kansas Action for Children. Some of the more rural dentists could have one dentist for as many as 4,000 or 5,000 people.

There are many counties that lack a dentist that accepts Medicaid. The result is these Medicaid patients don’t receive treatment until there is an emergency or until there is an opportunity to be treated at a free dental clinic.