Document Type



Allied Health Sciences


Prof. Ryan Talbert, Dept. of Sociology


Inequality and Stratification | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


Dental health is an integral part of overall well-being and operates as a mirror of health and disease occurring within the rest of the body. This project uses quantitative information from Google Maps and the American Community Survey to examine associations between the number of dental offices and sociodemographic characteristics in 571 Census block groups in Worcester County, Massachusetts. Statistical modeling including negative binomial regression and GIS-based models were utilized for data analysis. Results revealed that dental offices are most often located in areas with fewer socioeconomic resources. Moreover, blocks with greater percentages of Asian/Asian Americans have higher likelihood of dental office access, but areas with greater concentration of Hispanic populations experience less access. The intersection of racial composition and socioeconomic resources is most telling such that areas with high Asian populations have extensive access to dental offices across socioeconomic conditions while access is more limited for areas with high Hispanic and impoverished populations. Overall, this study addresses a fundamental need to examine dental care access and the existing disparities. While programs have effectively established more dental offices in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, access inequities remain especially pronounced for neighborhoods with large Hispanic populations.