Untreated dental disease can lead to serious health effects including pain, infection, and tooth loss. Although lack of sufficient providers is only one barrier to accessing oral health care, much of the country suffers from shortages. The US average is one dentist per 1,460 residents, in Licking County the ratio is one dentist per 2,710 residents.
Federal regulations stipulate that, in order to be considered as having a shortage of providers, an area must have a population-to-provider ratio of a certain threshold. For dental care, the population to provider ratio must be at least 5,000 to 1 (4,000 to 1 if there are unusually high needs in the community).