Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2-2007


The purpose of this study was to determine the number of Latino dentists in California, identify the schools and countries where they were educated, and compare Latino dentist demographics with that of the state’s new demographics. From the 2000 California Department of Consumer Affairs list of 25,273 dentists, we identified Latino U.S. dental graduates (USDGs) by “heavily Hispanic” surnames and Latino international dental graduates (IDGs) by country and school of graduation. From the 2000 U.S. census Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS), we described Latino dentist characteristics such as Spanish language capacity and practice location. The number of Latino dentists acquiring licenses to practice in California has fallen dramatically, by nearly 80 percent, between 1983 and 2000. This decline is not merely an affirmative action issue; it results in an issue of access. Latino dentists are far more likely to speak Spanish and be located in a heavily Latino area than non-Latino dentists. Currently, although the supply of Latino dentists is dwindling, the Latino population is growing rapidly. In California and out-of-state schools, first-year matriculation of Latino USDG must increase. Further, non-Latino dentists should be prepared and given incentives to learn Spanish and locate practices in areas of need. The reintroduction of IDG Latino dentists needs to be seriously considered.


Originally published in the Journal of Dental Education and also available at