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Primary Care Provider FTEs per 100,000 Vermonters - Dentists

Current Value




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Story Behind the Curve

As of 2017, a total of 381 dentists were licensed and providing care in Vermont. This represents 289.7 full-time equivalents, of which 242.7 are in primary care. Of the 313 dentists working mainly in primary care, 299 are general dentists and 114 are in pediatrics. 71 dentists work mainly in specialties including orthodontics (23), oral surgery (21), endodontics (13), periodontics (10), prosthodontics (2) and other specialties (2).

The dental workforce is changing, aging and reducing their hours. In 2018, there were 2 less dentists providing patient care in Vermont than in 2015, but the total primary care FTEs increased by 2.6, and specialist FTEs decreased by 3.1. 48% of Dentists are 55 or older, and  24% are 65 or older. In Rutland County, 58% of the general dentists are 60 or older. Compared to 2015, fewer dentists are providing less than 30 hours of patient care each week.

These changes have impacted access to care in differing ways. The percentage of dentists accepting new patients is 97%, higher than in 2015, and the percentage accepting new Medicaid patients is 60%, lower than 2015. However, the the average wait time for an appointment for a new patient with a general dentist has decreased, from 3.6 to 2.4 weeks, although it has increased from 3.5 to 3.8 weeks for new patients of pediatric dentists.

Healthcare professional need is often calculated as a ratio of clinician FTE to the population of a defined geographic area. Federal Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designations for oral health are based on population to general dentist ratios greater than 4,000 people to 1 FTE dentist. Vermont’s statewide ratio for dentists was 2,573 to 1 FTE in 2085. Vermont may be better off than many other states nationally but distribution of physicians is not consistent in all areas of the state. The greatest need for additional dentists exist in areas around Windsor, Waitsfield, Chelsea & Corinth, Milton-South Hero, Ludlow, Londonderry and Castleton.

Recruiting dentists and their families to work in rural areas is a challenge unless there is an existing connection to the area. Spousal employment opportunities are also critical factors for dentist recruitment and long-term retention.

Current and historic info at:

Why Is This Important?

The total number, hours of patient care and geographic distribution of healthcare professionals is critical data for determining health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) and priority geographic regions for recruitment and retention incentives such as educational loan repayment resources from federal and state funds.

This indicator is part of Healthy Vermonters 2020 (the State Health Assessment) that documents the health status of Vermonters at the start of the decade and the population health indicators and goals that will guide the work of public health through 2020. Click here for more information.


Recruitment and retention incentives

What Works

Healthcare organizations including dentists are important employers in many of Vermont’s small communities, as healthcare careers can be provide good wages and salaries for several non-dentist positions.

The Vermont AHEC Network offers a variety of programs to increase awareness and interest in a wide range of health care careers, including primary care physicians, among high school and college students in Vermont.These programs include MedQuest and College Quest, Shadow Days in practices, Student Career Days and other efforts.

UVM's Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program office and regional AHECs manage and distribute the state-appropriated Educational Loan Repayment Program (ELRP) awards for Dentists, Primary Care Providers, Nurses and Nurse Faculty.

The Vermont State Dental Society employs a recruiter to work with dental schools in New England and New York to inform students about opportunities in Vermont.They also collaborate with UVM College of Medicine’s dental residency program, Delta Dental, foundations and others to increase training, recruitment and retention incentives in Vermont.

The Vermont/New Hampshire Recruitment Center, a program of Bi-State Primary Care Association, works with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and others to recruit physicians to work in under-served areas of Vermont.


Continue to work with partners identified here as well as FQHCs and others to coordinate recruitment and retention efforts and incentives for dental professionals.VDH manages the loan repayment programs through AHEC and VSAC that offer loan forgiveness and repayment resources.

We will continue to collect data from key healthcare professions every two years, pursue federal Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) designations for eligible geographic regions, target our limited state and federal resources to geographic areas and specialties with greatest needs.

Similar to statewide efforts, local partners are using data to drive local strategy. For regional data on access to health indicators, check out our Public Health Data Explorer.

Notes on Methodology

Data analysts from the Vermont Department of Health work with the Secretary of State’s Office of Professional Regulation and other licensing boards to collect information about patient care hours, practice locations and other data through an online census of ~99% of all licensed healthcare providers in 40+ professions every two years in most cases.

This data is analyzed and reported by county, FTE, demographics, population ratios, practice type, and trends over time for key professions such as physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, psychiatrists and other mental health providers. Shorter data briefs will be developed for other healthcare professions starting in 2017.

Data is updated as it becomes available and timing may vary by data source. For more information about this indicator.

Clear Impact Suite is an easy-to-use, web-based software platform that helps your staff collaborate with external stakeholders and community partners by utilizing the combination of data collection, performance reporting, and program planning.

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