OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — It can be difficult to get a cavity filled in rural parts of Nebraska because more than half of the state's 93 counties are short on dentists, according to a new report.

The Center for Health Policy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center says 20 counties don't have any dentists and another 31 counties have only 1 or two dentists. And the shortage could get worse: 39 percent of Nebraska's dentists are nearing retirement.

One of the report's authors, Kim McFarland, says the state needs to figure out ways to encourage more dentists to set up shop in underserved areas.

"We just need to make sure we're recruiting dental students from rural areas and giving them incentives to practice in rural areas," said McFarland, who teaches at the University of Nebraska's dental college.

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