According to the Institute of Medicine, millions of Americans do not have access to professional dental care due to the lack of dentists in their area or financial coverage. About 33 million people last year lived in regions under-served by dentists and 4.6 million children in 2008 couldn’t get dental check ups because they could not afford them.
This is the lowest ratio of dentists to population the country has seen in nearly a hundred years. An estimated 9,600 more dental professionals would be needed in order to serve all the people that lack access to dental care. The rise in dental mobile vans with dental hygienists lending their expertise to under-served areas is one way dental professionals have tried to expand access to dental care.