About the Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas data

This page provides information about Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (Dental HPSAs) in Minnesota. The Health Resource and Services Administration’s Bureau of Health Workforce designates Dental HPSAs as having a shortage of dentists.

  • Dental HPSAs help identify areas of greatest dental care need in order to prioritize limited resources.
  • The total number of Dental HPSA designations in Minnesota
  • The percentage of Minnesota counties with full-county Dental HPSA, partial-county Dental HPSA, or not designated as a Dental HPSA.
  • Dental HPSA designations are primarily used for recruiting providers for the National Health Service Corps and state loan forgiveness/repayment programs and grants.
  • In Minnesota, the majority of Dental HPSAs are Low-Income Population designations, i.e. 30 percent or more of the population in these areas are at 200% of the federal poverty guidelines and lack sufficient access to dental services. These populations may experience risk of dental disease and oral conditions.
  • Focus resources, program activities and dental workforce initiatives towards counties with a Dental HPSA designation (e.g. provider recruitment for Health Service Corps and state loan forgiveness/repayment programs and grants).
  • Inform educators, oral health, medical and public health professionals, researchers, grant makers, policy makers, and the public.
  • Understand the link between people living in a Dental HPSA (county of residence) and health outcomes related to dental care access issues (e.g. increased emergency room visits for dental diseases and oral health conditions).
  • State and local program planning and evaluation.
  • The number and geographic distribution of the total oral health workforce in Minnesota (including dental hygienists, dental therapists and dental assistants).

Geographic areas must:

  • Be rational areas for the delivery of dental services.
  • Meet one of the following conditions:
    • Have a population to full-time-equivalent dentist ratio of at least 5,000: 1, or
    • Have a population to full-time equivalent dentist ratio of less than 5,000: 1 but greater than 4,000: 1 and unusually high needs for dental services.
  • Have dental professionals in contiguous areas that are over-utilized, excessively distant, or are inaccessible to the population.

Population groups must:

  • Reside in a rational service area for the delivery of dental care services.
  • Have access barriers that prevent the population group from use of the area's dental providers.
  • Have a ratio of the number of persons in the population group to the number of dentists practicing in the area and serving the population group of at least 4,000: 1.
  • Members of federally recognized Native American tribes are automatically designated. Other groups may be designated if they meet the basic criteria described above.

Facilities must:

  • Be Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), comprehensive health centers, rural health clinics, Indian Health Service or tribal health services, or
  • Be either federal and/or state correctional institutions or public and/or non-profit private dental facilities.
  • Federal or state correctional facilities must:
    • Have at least 250 inmates, and
    • Have a ratio of the number of internees per year to the number of FTE dentists serving the institution of at least 1,500:1
  • Public and/or non-profit private dental facilities must:
    • Provide general dental care services to an area or population group designated as having a Dental HPSA, and
    • Have insufficient capacity to meet the dental care needs of that area or population group.

Presently, existing Dental HPSAs are reviewed, renewed, or withdrawn on an approximate three-year cycle. New areas are reviewed as requested.

Not necessarily. The area may have dental workforce shortages, but did not apply for or meet federal rules for Dental HPSA status.

Total Dental HPSA: The total number of Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas in Minnesota, including geographic (a county or service area), population groups (low-income population) or facility (i.e. comprehensive health center, federally qualified health center, correctional facilities, Indian Health Service facility, rural health clinics or other public facility).

Not Designated Dental HPSA: The percentage of Minnesota counties that do not have a designation by the Health Resource and Services Administration’s Bureau of Health Workforce as a Dental Health Professional Shortage Area.

Partial County Dental HPSA: The percentage of Minnesota counties that have some areas of the county designated by the Health Resource and Services Administration’s Bureau of Health Workforce as a Dental Health Professional Shortage Area.

Full County Dental HPSA: The percentage of Minnesota counties that are designated by the Health Resource and Services Administration’s Bureau of Health Workforce as a Dental Health Professional Shortage Area.

Total Dental HPSA: The total number of Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas in Minnesota as of the month and year of data collection.

Not Designated Dental HPSA: The number of counties not having a Dental Health Professional Shortage Area designation as of the month and year of data collection divided by 87 Minnesota counties, multiplied by 100 to get a percent.

Partial County Dental HPSA: The number of counties designated as having partial county Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas as of the month and year of data collection divided by 87 Minnesota counties, multiplied by 100 to get a percent.

Full County Dental HPSA: The number of counties having full county Dental Health Professional Shortage Area designation as of the month and year of data collection divided by 87 Minnesota counties, multiplied by 100 to get a percent.

  • Geographic Dental HPSA represents the resident/civilian population of the area.
  • Low income Dental HPSA represents the population of the service area at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
  • Facility Dental HPSA represents comprehensive health centers, correctional facilities, rural health clinics, tribal health centers and other facilities serving low-income populations, regardless of the presence of a dental clinic.
  • In some areas, dentist FTE (full-time equivalent) which is an indicator for number of dentists is based on Medicaid claims data (4,000 Medicaid claims equal to one dentist FTE) and federal regulation rather than on actual clinical survey data.
  • Potential new Dental HPSAs are reviewed as requested. An area not designated as a Dental HPSA could be a result of ineligibility or not having requested to be reviewed for Dental HPSA designation.
  • Dental HPSAs in the dataset are updated sporadically, therefore the year of data reported is not for a calendar or fiscal year but as-is for the month/date of collection.
  • Trend analysis is not possible. The number of total Dental HPSAs, proportion of counties with full county, partial county, and not a designated Dental HPSA status, and corresponding maps from one year should not be compared to other years.
  • Minnesota Board of Dentistry.
  • Office of Rural Health and Primary Care Workforce Survey.
  • Minnesota Department of Human Services Medicaid/Medical Assistance claims.
  • 2012-2016 American Community Survey.

Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (2018). Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Rural Health and Primary Care. Collected by the Minnesota Oral Health Program. St. Paul, Minnesota: MN Public Health Data Access Portal. [Add URL] Retrieved month, year.

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