Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Oral Biology

Committee Chair

Bednar, Eric D.

Author's Keywords

Orthodontics; GIS; Underserved; Location; Medicaid; Dental


Orthodontics; Dental care--Kentucky; Health services accessibility--Kentucky


Background: Malocclusion can affect an individual's quality of life. Unfortunately, access to orthodontic treatment is limited for many children. Access is improved when orthodontists select practice locations where their services are most needed. Methods: A statistical model was applied to demographic and dental practice data in Kentucky to determine underserved areas that have the capacity to support additional orthodontic practices. All zip codes and practices were mapped using a geographic information system (GIS). Results: The model identified 30 underserved zip codes with practice-supporting capability, but this number fell to zero after additional verification. Sixteen counties (13.3%) contain areas located more than 30 miles from the nearest practice. Fifteen counties (12.5%) contain areas located more than 50 miles from a Medicaid orthodontic provider. Conclusions: Kentucky does not have a shortage of orthodontic practices, but certain regions could benefit from additional Medicaid providers. The statistical model, in conjunction with GIS, can assist in assessing practice site viability.