North Dakotans for Dental Access
http://nddentalaccess.com/newsletter/DentalTherapistsExpandingCaretoRuralResidents/
North Dakotans for Dental Access News

Dental Therapists Expanding Care to Rural Residents

 
ND Dental Care Fact: Allowing dentists to hire dental therapists would increase access to care for North Dakotans in rural and urban communities. i
 
A recently released study from Minnesota shows that a dental therapist is a cost-efficient member of a rural dental clinic’s team.
 
The case study, conducted by Apple Tree Dental, a Minnesota-based nonprofit, examined the mix of procedures and the billing of the dental therapist from 2014 through 2016 to evaluate her impact in the rural practice. The findings show that expanded use of these therapists can improve access to oral health care while keeping costs down.
 
Among the findings of the case study:
  • The therapist’s average daily billing was 94 percent of the average for the clinic’s dentists.
  • Working four days a week, Hager averaged over 185 clinic days a year, providing more than 1,525 dental visits annually.
  • Nearly 80 percent of her patients were insured by public programs such as Medicaid.
  • 64 percent of the services Hager provided were for restorative care including treating cavities.
  • Over the three-year period, she also focused on preventive care by placing 60 percent of the sealants at the Madelia Center—one of the most effective ways to prevent future decay.
 
Facts: Oral Health Access for ND Rural Areas
  • Thousands of North Dakotans do not receive regular, routine dental care because there is not enough access to providers in rural areas or for many people with low-incomes in urban centers.ii
  • Nearly half of ND counties have no dentists or just one (17 have none, 8 have one).iii
  • According to the American Dental Association, ND dentists are the busiest in the nation.iv
  • Over 60% of all practicing dentists are located in the four largest counties (Burleigh, Cass, Grand Forks, and Ward).v
 
ICYMI: Momentum increases in states to expand dental workforce
 
 
 
 
i UND Center for Rural Health. ND Oral Health Report: Needs and Proposed Models, December 2014.
ii UND Center for Rural Health. ND Oral Health Report: Needs and Proposed Models, December 2014.
iii UND Center for Rural Health, “Dental Workforce in Rural and Urban ND,” June 2016.
iv Vujicic M. Solving dentistry’s “busyness” problem. JADA 146(8), August 2015.
v UND Center for Rural Health, “Dental Workforce in Rural and Urban ND,” June 2016


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