Dentists are on the move. Where may surprise you.

United States Map

From 2019 to 2022, nearly 6% of practicing dentists changed states, according to data from the ADA Health Policy Institute (HPI). Florida gained the most dentists, but Idaho saw the highest percentage increase in clinicians.

During that same time frame, Massachusetts had the biggest percentage dip in clinicians. However, the number of dentists decreased the most in New York, according to the data.

To identify states that gained or lost dentists due to migration, HPI tracked dentists’ location data from 2019 to 2022. Clinicians listed in the ADA master file as licensed, not retired; living in the 50 states or District of Columbia; and working full or part time in private practice, at a dental school, the armed forces, or any other similar organization were considered active dentists. Those located in U.S. territories or the U.S. armed forces overseas were excluded. There were 181,412 active dentists in 2019 and 2022.

Heading South and beyond

In Florida, there were 10,066 dentists in 2019. That number climbed 2.7% with 267 migrating to the Sunshine State, bringing the total number of dentists to 10,333, according to HPI.

Arizona and North Carolina followed as the two states with the second- and third-highest net gains in clinicians at 155 and 150, respectively. In Arizona, the number of dentists increased from 3,711 in 2019 to 3,866 in 2022. In North Carolina, the number of dentists increased from 5,100 in 2019 to 5,250 in 2022, according to the data.

On the other hand, Idaho saw a nearly 8% increase in dentists. From 2019 to 2022, the number of dentists in Idaho rose from 892 to 960. South Dakota and New Hampshire weren’t far behind with about 7% increases. In South Dakota, the number of dentists rose from 402 in 2019 to 431 in 2022, and the number of clinicians increased from 757 to 811 in New Hampshire during the same period, according to the data.

East Coast migration

However, there were 12,884 dentists in New York in 2022. This was 379 fewer dentists than in 2019. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania followed with the second-biggest loss with 208 dentists leaving. In 2022, the Keystone State had 6,666 dentists, according to HPI.

From 2019 to 2022, Massachusetts saw the third-greatest migration of dentists and the largest percentage decrease in dentists. The state had a nearly 4% decrease in dentists. The state lost 194 clinicians, bringing its total number of clinicians from 5,199 in 2019 to 4,925 in 2022, according to the data.

Finally, New Mexico and Louisiana followed closely behind with approximate 3% declines. New Mexico’s dentist population dipped from 941 in 2019 to 908 in 2022, and Louisiana’s fell from 2,004 in 2019 to 1,941 in 2022, according to HPI. 

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