Dental offices, dental assistants and dentists across the country are looking for a better price and a less stressful work environment to relocate to, according to a survey released Thursday by the American Dental Association.
The survey found that nearly 70 percent of dentists and dental assistants across the United States plan to relocate in the next two years, while the number of dental schools is down to about 30 percent, from more than 60 percent.
“The dental workforce is changing, and we need to do the right thing,” said Dr. Robert Hines, president and CEO of the association, in a statement.
“If you are moving, make sure you have a dental plan and a plan for the environment.”
The survey surveyed 1,000 people in more than 50 U.S. states.
It found that in California, Texas, Florida and Illinois, dental offices are seeing the largest drops in enrollment, while dental assistants are the most likely to move.
Dentists and dentist assistants in Texas saw the largest decline in enrollment last year, while dentists in Florida and California saw their enrolments increase, the survey found.
Dr. Michael B. Smith, president of the American Association of Dental Surgeons, said the trend could affect dentists’ ability to continue operating in those states.
“We don’t want to see dentists or dental assistants leave the country,” Smith said in a phone interview.
“But they need to be able to continue to provide services to the patients in those places.
If they don’t, they’re not going to be here.”
A recent study by the U.K. Dental Federation found that the average price for a year of dental school is $80,000, up from $50,000 in 2014.
In the survey, a total of 6,500 people across the U,S.
and Canada indicated that they would be willing to move to a cheaper, less stressful environment to live.
However, more than half said that they planned to relocate if the salary was comparable to their current salary, the report found.
“You’re not moving out of your own city.
You’re moving out to an area where you have more options, and if you don’t have that flexibility, then it’s not a good place to be,” said Maryanne L. Lee, president, dental school and internship program at the University of Houston.
“You’re taking a job with a higher salary, which means you’re going to have to work longer hours.
That’s not the kind of environment you want to be in.”