This year, it’s been more difficult to obtain a dental certificate because of the recent coronavirus outbreak, said Dr. James M. Mottram, a professor of emergency medicine at Yale University.
“So the dental profession is in a tough spot,” he said.
While there’s a shortage of qualified doctors, there are also more people interested in getting dental care.
In a 2015 survey of dental students, 73 percent of them said they were interested in attending a dental school, and about 25 percent of the respondents were looking to get a dental degree, according to the University of Pennsylvania Center for Health Policy Research.
This year, there were nearly 1.6 million dental students nationwide, according the National Dental Association.
Dr. Munk says students are interested in learning about the oral health care system and being able to get access to care.
The CDC has not released numbers on the number of people who have a dental infection, but a recent study found that more than 3.5 million people in the U.S. have had dental work done, including over 1 million people who had oral infections.
To help students get dental certification, the CDC is offering a $200,000 reward to those who provide dental care to those with dental problems.
The agency is encouraging dental students to report their dental work and submit the results to the CDC.
If you or someone you know needs dental care, you can reach out to the National Center for Advancing Community Wellness at 800-488-HOPE or contact the National Emergency Medical Services (NEMS) at 800.273.GOD.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.