Report: New Mexico dentist shortage among worst in country

Posted at: 06/25/2013 11:44 AM
Updated at: 06/25/2013 5:32 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4; Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com



One day after a study ranked New Mexico the worst state for child well-being, another dismal report shows the state is lacking in dental care.

The Pew children's dental report ranks New Mexico as having the fourth worst dentist shortage in the country. The study found 24.2 percent of residents live in areas that are underserved.

Five counties do not have a single practicing dentist, including are Guadalupe, Harding, Hidalgo, Mora and Union. Three counties share only one dentist in the area: Catron, De Baca and Quay.

Even more, the report indicates that more than a third of dentists in New Mexico are nearing retirement age.

The federal government says there would have to be more than 6,000 new dentists to alleviate the shortage.