Dentists in New Mexico by County

Professional shortages make it difficult for many residents to access dental care

Dentists in New Mexico by County

More than 850,000 New Mexicans live in areas designated by the federal government as dental health professional shortage areas—defined as one dentist for 5,000 or more people. Sizable portions of counties in the state fall into this category; 32 of the 33 counties are designated shortage areas, including all of: Catron, Chaves, Cibola, Colfax, Curry, De Baca, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Harding, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Quay, Roosevelt, San Juan, San Miguel, Sierra, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Union, and Valencia.

Dental care
Dental care
States Expand the Use of Dental Therapy
States Expand the Use of Dental Therapy
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States Expand the Use of Dental Therapy

Access to care increases when dentists are authorized to hire midlevel providers

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Dental therapists—midlevel providers similar to physician assistants in medicine—deliver preventive and routine restorative care, such as filling cavities, placing temporary crowns, and extracting badly diseased or loose teeth. As states grapple with provider shortages, especially to serve vulnerable populations, a handful have acted to allow dentists to hire these practitioners, and many others are exploring the option. Dental therapists also practice in several tribal communities, where access to care can be especially limited.