A new Kirksville dental school is seeking to ease a shortage of dentists in Missouri.
The Columbia Missourian reports that the Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health opened Tuesday at A.T. Still University. The only other dental school in the state is at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
The new dental school's initial class of 42 includes only nine Missouri residents. But the school hopes that its health center placement program will persuade many of them to remain in state.
Dentists are in short supply across much of the state. Missouri ranks 41st out of 50 states in adult oral health based on the percentage of adults who regularly visit the dentist. But the low number of dentists is not the only factor holding down the ranking – current dentists in the state are retiring at a rate faster than they can be replaced.