Addressing the oral healthcare needs in all of our communities will require a dental workforce to meet those needs. There are innumerable potential barriers to access to dental care throughout the country, but the root cause of many of these issues is that there aren’t providers in the area with the capacity to see additional patients.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the ADA has found that half of dentists nationally have personally taken on duties that were previously assigned to other team members, shifting their time to activities that don’t allow them to practice at the top of their license. But as you’ll see, there isn’t one simple explanation or solution to the workforce challenges we face, and the challenge is different in different parts of the Commonwealth.
The Virginia Dental Workforce Council brought in program directors, dentists, state officials, and workforce experts to bring solid numbers around the workforce needs in Virginia and to identify short- and long-term solutions. I thank them all for donating their time and talent to addressing this critical need. This report is an important step in bringing forward solutions, structures and relationships that will elevate our oral healthcare workforce needs and put in place long-term solutions to address our future oral healthcare needs.
Please use this report as a resource. In the months ahead, the data you find in the report will be included and updated as new information becomes available.
To effectively implement the report’s recommendations and address the identified needs, we will need our members and their teams engaged. If you would like to be part of the next steps in this process, please reach out to me or a VDA team member to connect with local efforts.
Thank you again to the many VDA members and professionals who devoted time to working on this issue and getting us to this point.
The future of dentistry in Virginia is bright, and I have been encouraged over this past year how much willingness there is to work together to make sure Virginia is a national leader in addressing our dental workforce needs.
VDA Workforce Council Report
Dr. Cynthia Southern
Chair, Virginia Dental Workforce Council