A new report claims Tennessee is suffering a severe shortage of qualified dentists and the problem isn't likely to be resolved in the coming years. The Pew Charitable Trusts' In Search of Dental Care report identifies "shortage areas" throughout the country in which the ratio of dentists to residents is particularly troublesome. Approximately 19% of Tennesseans don't have access to a dentist who can provide routine care, a dubious distinction that ranks Tennessee among the worst in the nation.
The report also concluded Tennessee's shortage of dentists will probably get worse over the next twenty years. About 43% of the state's dentists are aged 55 or older and will be retiring by 2030.