Oral Health Workforce Projections

We study the national-level supply and demand projections for dentists and dental hygienists.

We use HRSA’s Health Workforce Simulation Model (PDF – 2.2 MB) to do it.

How does this data help?

The data helps policymakers make decisions about oral health workforce education, training, and delivery of care.

What do we study about the oral health workforce?

We study:

  • the current number of dentists and dental hygienists the US,
  • the projected number of dentists and dental hygienists in 2030,
  • current use of oral health services, and
  • projected changes in demand.

How do we determine future supply and demand?

We apply current patterns of health care use and delivery to future population demographics.

Fact Sheet: Oral Health Projections, 2017-2030: Dentists and Dental Hygienists (PDF - 195 KB)

What are our key findings?

In 2017, we estimate that there were:

  • More than 190,500 full-time dentists across all dental specialties.
  • Approximately 147,470 full-time dental hygienists.

By 2030, we project the following increases in supply of dentists:

  • A 9% increase to 207,930 total dentists
  • Faster growth in supply of some specialties:
    • Pediatric dentists (50%)
    • Endodontists (17%)
    • Orthodontists (16%)
    • Oral surgeons (13%)
  • A 9% increase in demand for full-time dentists
  • Similar increases in demand for:
    • Periodontists (11%)
    • General dentists (9%)
    • Oral surgeons (7%)
    • Endodontists (7%)
  • The demand for pediatric dentists to increase by 2% and orthodontists to slightly decrease.

By 2030, we project the following for dental hygienists:

  • A 20% increase to 176,660
  • A 7% increase in demand full-time dental hygienists

Past Oral Health Workforce Reports

February 2015

National and State-Level Projections of Dentists and Dental Hygienists in the U.S., 2012-2025 (PDF - 634 KB)

Date Last Reviewed:  April 2020


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