Illinois’ clinical oral health workforce includes dental assistants, dental hygienists, general dentists and specialist dentists. Increasingly, primary care providers are joining the efforts to screen for oral diseases, apply fluoride varnish and ensure their patients are connected to dental homes. The oral health workforce and educational institutions are dispersed throughout the state, although provider shortages exist in many rural areas and for certain population groups.
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A 2015 report published by the Oral Health Forum, an initiative of the Heartland Alliance, examines characteristics of the Illinois dentist and dental hygienist workforce. They surveyed providers about sex, race, language, professional education, practice size, setting, and retirement plans. The document complements similar reports from the Illinois Department of Public Health for 2004-2005 and 2006.