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Questions about AFTCO's Dentistics

Q: What is the data source for dentistics?
A: The data source is a database of dentists in the U.S. maintained by AFTCO and the demographics are supplied by the U.S. government census bureau.

Q: How are the population/dentist ratios calculated?
A: By taking the population of the selected area and dividing that amount by the number of dentists in that same area.

Q: How often is this information updated, and from what sources?
A: The database information is updated on a daily basis resulting from returned first class mailings with address corrections made by the U.S. Postal Service. Database maintenance is a very arduous and time consuming task, and as such, the data you are viewing will never be 100% accurate.

Q: What would be the average population to dentist ratio?
A: There are approximately 150,000 clinically active dentists in the United States. Although the number of dentists has been increasing for the past 20 years, the growth has leveled off in comparison to the growth in the U.S. population, resulting in a decreasing dentist-to-population ratio. For example it was 1712:1 ratio in 1996. In 1990, there were nearly 60 dentists per 100,000 population or a 1667:1 ratio. Individual States have reported the following population to dentist ratio in 2002:

ALABAMA 2,491
ALASKA 1,468
ARIZONA 2,520
ARKANSAS 2,663
CALIFORNIA 1,660
COLORADO 1,710
CONNECTICUT 1,419
DELAWARE 2,367
D.C. 966
FLORIDA 2,256
GEORGIA 2,619
HAWAII 1,287
IDAHO 2,031
ILLINOIS 1,661
INDIANA 2,258
KANSAS 1,952
KENTUCKY 2,137
LOUISIANA 1,979
MAINE 2,254
MARYLAND 2,179
MASSACHUSETTS 1,523
MICHIGAN 1,445
MAINE 1,803
MINNESOTA 1,758
MISSISSIPPI 2,797
MISSOURI 2,205
MONTANA 1,974
NEBRASKA 1,655
NEVADA 3,166
NEW HAMPSHIRE 1,910
NEW JERSEY 1,442
NEW MEXICO 2,636
NEW YORK 1,211
NORTH CAROLINA 2,651
NORTH DAKOTA 2,078
OHIO 1,988
OKLAHOMA 2,229
OREGON 1,654
PENNSYLVANIA 1,683
RHODE ISLAND 1,916
SOUTH CAROLINA 2,520
SOUTH DAKOTA 2,227
TENNESSEE 2,162
TEXAS 2,409
UTAH 1,804
VERMONT 1,812
VIRGINIA 1,940
WASHINGTON 1,716
WEST VIRGINIA 2,315
WISCONSIN 1,856
WYOMING 2,057

Source: Oral Health America, 2002.

This list was a population/dentists ratio report, which includes specialists (the report was not specific) and general dentists. You can assume that specialists make up about 20% of all dentists, and this report is for all dentists. The population to general practitioners ratio would be higher if only general dentists were included in this report.

If you want a more accurate state population to general dentists ratio, then take the population number for your state above and divide it by .80 for a more accurate number.

Q: Why is the ratio so high/low for various states?
A: Desirability is the number one factor, state size is another, and it also can reflect the difficulty of passing the state dental boards (or just applying for a dental license) for that state. The higher the ratio, the easier it is to get a dental license in that state, the lower the ratio, the more difficult. At least, that's a reasonable conclusion.

Q: Does the state ratio apply across the board for the entire state?
A: No, obviously metropolitan areas have the highest concentration of dentists (and population as well). In order to get an idea of what the ratio would be for an area where you may be considering a practice, then the zip code ratios
would be much more representative of what you can expect from a business standpoint.

Q: What would be an ideal general dentist to population ratio for a zip code?
A: In a metropolitan area you would have an ideal ratio of at least 1600:1, in rural areas 3000:1.

Q: What does the specialist to general dentist ratio indicate?
A: Competition and opportunity only.
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"My AFTCO analyst was the perfect analyst for this transition. He knew first-hand the world of transitioning between practice buyer and owner. Because he is a dentist, I was much more comfortable working with him. He is very knowledgeable about the dental and business aspect of this field. Thank you for all of your help."

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Abilene, TX

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Abilene, TX

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Columbia, MD