June 15, 2021 Forbes
Of North Carolina’s 100 counties, 98 have been designated as Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas as of September 2020, based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. The shortage of dental care is most pronounced in rural parts of the state. As of 2017, North Carolina’s rural counties had an average of 30.2 dentists per capita, which is roughly half of the national average. Greater utilization of teledentistry can help rectify this shortage of care, particularly in rural areas.
“Teledentistry has been, and will continue to be, an important tool in helping providers reach patients who wouldn’t traditionally have access to care,” notes the NC Oral Health Collaborative. “It can connect dental care teams in non-traditional dental settings, such as schools and long-term care facilities. Teledentistry can also expand service options in rural North Carolina — where providers are more scarce.”