Pediatric Dentistry Workforce in Puerto Rico: Results of a 2011 Survey

Oscar Arévalo, Daniel M. Saman, Miguel Tabares, Lauramar Sotomayor, Ana Hernández


Objective: Determine the socio-demographic and educational characteristics of and develop a profile of practice for Pediatric Dentists (PDs) in Puerto Rico. Methods: A 34-item questionnaire assessing 3 dimensions: socio-demographic and education, practice profile, and level of satisfaction/desire to relocate, was developed and pre-tested for comprehensiveness, validity, and reliability. Data were collected through telephone interviews by a calibrated interviewer, entered and tabulated using Excel® (Microsoft Office 2010) and exported to SPSS v. 17 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL). Descriptive statistical analyses were conducted. Results: Eighty percent (80%) of all of the licensed PDs in PR participated in our study. The typical PD in PR has been in practice for 19 years, is 48 years old, and spends 31 hours/week providing clinical care. Female PDs, who comprise 70% of the PD workforce, devote more time to clinical and managerial activities than do their male counterparts. Seventy-three percent (73%) of the current PD workforce will be retiring within the next 20 years and 70% are solo-practitioners. Most PDs (65%) participate in the government-subsidized dental insurance program “Mi Salud,” which represents as much as 48% of their income. PDs beginning or ending their careers were more likely to be participating providers for “Mi Salud” than were those in mid-career. Conclusion: In evaluating the adequacy of the pediatric dentistry workforce in Puerto Rico, the socio-demographic information of the PDs and the characteristics of their practices must be taken into account. These variables must be examined in relation to epidemiological indicators as well as environmental factors, including the comprehensiveness of dental benefits and the adequacy of reimbursement levels by third-party payers, which when inadequate may lead to decreased access to care.


pediatric dentistry, manpower, supply and distribution, dental economics, Puerto Rico

Full Text:


Published by the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus
Founded in 1982