Oral health contributes to overall health; therefore, it is important to understand the level of access to oral health care in Nebraska. Our analysis of the most recently available data in Nebraska on access to oral health care and on the oral health workforce indicates that in 2010, 68.4% of Nebraskans aged 18 years and older visited a dentist within the past year. The number of dentists per 100,000 population decreased by 2.85% between 2008 and 2012, and the number of dentists older than 60 years increased by 39.29%, raising concerns about the retiring dental workforce. Twenty Nebraska counties were without a dentist in 2012. The State of Nebraska designates 44 counties as general dentistry shortage areas, and the Health Resources and Services Administration designates 72 dental Health Professional Shortage Areas in Nebraska.
A UNMC study has found that the number of uninsured people under the age of 65 in Nebraska increased by 67.4 percent between 2000 and 2010. The study determined that the number of uninsureds has increased from 8.9 percent (156,300 people) in 2000 to 14.9 percent (217,100 people) in 2010.