February 16, 2017
by Bob Salsberg, The Associated Press
Need a tooth pulled or a cavity filled? Forget the dentist. A number of states are allowing or considering letting “dental therapists,” professionals with a lower level of training, do the job.
In dozens of countries and a handful of U.S. states, dental therapists also sometimes called advanced dental hygiene practitioners help fill gaps in access to oral care for low-income, elderly and disabled people, and in rural areas where few dentists practice, according to many public health advocates.
In Massachusetts, a group that lobbies on behalf of dentists has for the first time signalled a willingness to embrace the concept, though its proposal is viewed as unnecessarily restrictive by sponsors of a competing bill in the Legislature.
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Dental therapists have been popping up in the news more often: Dental Therapists are Being Suggested to Fill the Gap in Dental Care