Cost effectiveness, training, scope of practice and supervision of dental therapists still under discussion.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Therapeutics, Dental (Evaluation)
Author: Wineinger, Joanne
Pub Date: 05/01/2012
Publication: Name: The Dental Assistant Publisher: American Dental Assistants Association Audience: Academic; Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Science and technology Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 American Dental Assistants Association ISSN: 1088-3886
Issue: Date: May-June, 2012 Source Volume: 81 Source Issue: 3
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 303073608
Full Text: Many conversations, many studies and many bills filed in various state legislatures are concerned with the advancement of the dental therapist. Both dental hygienists and dental assistants are involved. Currently, only Minnesota has passed a statute legalizing the existence of dental therapists, has approved a school to educate them, and has regulations for the graduates of that school. The statute (SR 738) requires that the students in the advanced program be licensed by the state and requires that the student report to the Board when they graduate or are no longer students.

The W. K. Kellogg Foundation sponsored a one-year-long research project done by David Nash, MD, EdD, professor of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. He looked at over 1100 documents from 54 countries about dental therapists, their training and practice. Dr. Nash determined that dental therapists can provide technically competent, safe and effective care, especially for children. He found no compromises to safety or quality of care. However, both the ADA and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) did not support his report saying that it did not provide information about the cost effectiveness, training facilities, scope of practice and supervision.

by Joanne Wineinger, RDA, Ninth District Trustee
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