North Dakotans for Dental Access
North Dakotans for Dental Access News

Minnesota DT visits with ND dental hygienists

Fact of the Day - Half of American Indian 3rd graders have had untreated tooth decay. (According to the North Dakota Department of Health “Findings and Lessons from the 2014-2015 ND Oral Health Third Grade Basic Screening Survey.”)
Minnesota dental therapist visits with North Dakota dental hygienists DrewMDTwithNDDHA_ver2.jpg

Dozens of North Dakota dental hygienists were able to listen to and ask questions of a dental therapist from Minnesota, at their statewide spring meeting in Minot in mid-April. Drew Christianson, a practicing dental therapist and clinical assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, shared his experience within the dental care community. Christianson earned his master’s degree in dental therapy from the University of Minnesota in 2013 and has experience in both private practice and large group clinics. The dental hygienists who attended the North Dakota Dental Hygienists’ Association Spring Meeting learned about how dental therapists in Minnesota are part of the oral health care team model, what is required by Minnesota to be a practicing dental therapist, and how dental therapy is helping improve access to underserved populations.

Tribal success stories for dental therapy

The impact and positive change American Indians are receiving from dental therapists continues to grow. What started in Alaska in the 2000s has now expanded to benefit tribes in Washington and Oregon. The Native Dental Therapy Initiative is a project of the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, and in a recent newsletter they showcase a series of stories highlighting this positive change, including the hiring of the first dental therapist in Washington state, and the expansion of the Native American Rehabilitation Association Dental Clinic in Oregon. Click here or here for other stories on how an innovative mid-level provider, the dental therapist, is making a difference in the overall oral health of thousands across the country.

Minnesota dentist explains to Arizona audience why he hires dental therapists

(The following is an excerpt from a Letter to the Editor published recently in the Arizona Capital Times, from Minnesota rural dentist, Dr. John T. Powers, regarding how hiring dental therapists has expanded care to more people in southwest Minnesota where he practices, and how it has helped him grow his practice. Click here to read the full article, “Dental Therapists are making a difference in my practice and in my state.”)

“Arizona, like Minnesota, has a significant access problem. Solving it will take a multi-faceted approach. Making dental practices more cost-efficient and geographically flexible is part of the solution – an important part. Dental therapy can help get us there. Medical practices and their patients have benefitted from incorporating nurse practitioners and physician assistants for decades. Arizona’s dentists and patients deserve – and need – the same opportunity to benefit from midlevel providers that thousands of Minnesotans have had.” 

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