Study says Idaho has a dentist shortage

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - A Pew Research Center study says Idaho ranks 9th highest dentist shortage in the country. While cities don't feel it as much, many rural areas are noticing the effects of not having access to services.

The study goes on to say many without access people will put off preventative care such as cleanings. Which can lead to serious issues down the road.

Dr. Matthew Kooyman, owner of Signature Dental in Meridian, said with the high price of equipment he understands why some dentist don't start up in small areas.

"Paying for all of this equipment and the materials, and all this stuff that cost quite a bit of money," said Kooyman. "In the rural areas there are just not enough people there."

The study also highlighted the problem with doctors not accepting patients on Medicaid. Although it was unknown if it was an issue in Idaho because no data was submitted.

Dr. Kooyman does accept Medicaid patients, but he notes the reduction in benefits is making it harder for doctors to recover their costs.

One bright point of the study was Idaho doesn't have an issue with a large number of doctors set to retire which could cause a shortage in other states.