Top U.S. states by number of active dentists 2017

In total there are about 61 active dentists per every 100,000 people living in the United States, though there is significant variability in the number of dentists available depending on the state. As of 2017, California, Texas and New York had the largest number of active dentists working. California was ranked first with over 30 thousand active dentists. Despite having the largest number of dentists working, these states were not always the states with the highest number of dentists per population.

Dentistry within the U.S. – a supply cliff?

Recent estimates have suggested that the dentistry workforce in the U.S. is lacking by over 10,000 dentists. However, some states host a much higher number of dentists per population. The top states for the number of active dentists per population includes the District of Columbia, Massachusetts and Alaska. Despite variability across the U.S., attractive salaries may be one way to attract more dentists to practice. In a recent survey of dental professionals, dentists that worked in non-solo private practices had some of the highest annual incomes among all dentists.

Dental access and use in the U.S.

Dental use and access are staggeringly low in the United States. However, it is recommended that all people should visit their dentist regularly for cleaning and maintenance even if they have no dental issues. One barrier to dental care can be the high costs attached to some services and the lack of dental insurance to pay for care. While a majority of those that access dental services have some form of coverage to help them pay, a significant proportion of those accessing dental services are not covered by any type of insurance. Recommendations for increasing access to dental services include targeted public health programs, better insurance options and increasing the dental workforce within the U.S.

Top 10 U.S. states by number of active dentists in 2017

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Release date

October 2019


United States

Survey time period


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Statistics on "Oral health and dental care in the U.S."

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