A frustrated dentist is looking for a new dental practice after his business collapsed and he’s having to rely on food stamps to keep his teeth working.
In 2015, Dr. Robert D. Pernice was the dental director of a Santa Fe dental clinic in the state of New Mexico.
Pervice says he’s lost his dental license and has been denied reimbursement for the dentures he’s used to help patients.
“We lost our dental license last year, so our dental practices were basically gone,” Pernic said.
Pernice says his business was struggling to pay his dental bills and that’s why he decided to open a dental clinic for the disabled.
He says the dental industry in Santa Fe has been falling apart since the recession, but he says the industry in the surrounding area has been thriving.
“It’s not like we’re sitting here and the dentists aren’t working, but we’ve been left out of it,” Parnice said.
“The problem is we’re trying to feed the population that has no teeth, so we’re kind of just trying to survive, to get by, so that we can keep this dental practice going,” Pederice said, adding that he wants to get back to his job as soon as possible.
He’s not alone.
There are more than 2,000 dentists in Santa Cruz County who have filed for bankruptcy in recent years, according to the California Dental Association.
There is also a shortage of dentists for the aging population.
Dental professionals are also struggling to stay in business.
Last year, the American Dental Foundation reported that dental workers make less than $30 an hour.
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Dental Board of California CEO John Kagan said that the state was experiencing the highest number of dental bankruptcies in the nation.
The Dental Institute of America says the number of people who are insured through Medicare and Medicaid has been declining since the Great Recession.
The number of dentures that are available to dentists has also been dropping.
The dental board said in a statement that there are more dental offices closed because of the financial crisis than there are openings, but that the shortage of dental care is largely a result of the aging populations of the country.