Demand for dentists is at an all-time high, thanks to a combination of an aging dentist workforce and increased access to dental services for children and seniors.
The surging demand is one of the reasons U.S. News & World Report decided to give dentists the top spot on its list of the top 100 jobs in the United States. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment growth of 21 percent between 2010 and 2020 for dentists.
Barton Associates saw a steady increase in dentist placements quarter over quarter throughout 2014 (167 percent, 81 percent, and 31 percent, respectively). It appears that trend will continue in 2015. In Q1 2015, the number of dentist assignments placed by Barton Associates nearly doubled (95 percent increase) when compared to the previous quarter.
When comparing Q1 2015 to Q1 2014, the growth is even more dramatic. In Q1 2015, Barton Associates filled more than 12 times the dentistry assignments it filled in Q1 2014.
What Is Fueling the Demand?
For starters, the dental workforce is aging and more dentists are looking to retire. Graduation rates from U.S. dental schools hit 5,199 in 2012, up from a low of 3,778 in 1994 but still far below the high point in 1978, when 6,300 new dentists graduated.
At the same time, the Affordable Care Act is increasing demand for dentistry services among certain populations. One of the ACA’s 10 essential health benefits is “pediatric oral and vision services,” which is causing an increase in children seeking dentist services. The coverage mandate and insurance exchanges are also helping more adults obtain private insurance coverage, which may include dental. Select states also include dental coverage as part of their Medicaid program which is causing increase in demand for dental services among underserved areas.