North Dakotans for Dental Access
North Dakotans for Dental Access News

Port podcast interviews Dr. Luger in support of Dental Therapy and HB 1426

Support for Dental Therapy and HB 1426 continues to grow

Dr. Joanne Luger, dentist with Bridging the Dental Gap in Bismarck and supporter of dental therapy, spoke with Rob Port this week for Port’s Plain Talk Podcast. On the podcast (about 17 minutes in) Dr. Luger explains how House Bill 1426 authorizes enterprising dentists in safety-net settings to hire dental therapists to provide better access to quality dental care to those who need it the most in North Dakota. Those settings include Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), non-profit dental practices, practices that serve under the authorization of Indian Health Services, or similar organizations. As Dr. Luger states in the podcast, allowing dental practices the option to expand their teams with dental therapists can help improve access. The dental therapist would work in limited practice settings in order to have the greatest impact among those who need this help the most – children, low-income families, Native Americans, seniors and other underserved populations. According to widely-accepted statistics, these groups routinely don’t receive the same level of care and service that others in our state are provided.

Legislators are urged to join the 24 organizations, including all tribes in North Dakota, that make up the North Dakotans for Dental Access Coalition and support dental therapy by voting yes on HB 1426!

Letter to the Editor supports Dental Therapy

A Letter to the Editor was penned last week in support of dental therapy – by Dr. Luger and Emily Mallory, a dental hygienist in Grand Forks and President of the North Dakota Dental Hygienists’ Association. You can read this letter by clicking here

In the letter, it clearly states that the dental therapy profession is not experimental, it has been in existence for nearly 100 years, in almost 50 countries worldwide. Similar to physician assistants, a dental therapist is trained to offer routine and commonly needed preventive and restorative services, such as filling cavities. At one Minnesota university, the dental therapists train side-by-side with dentists and take the exact same tests. The quality of training and skill-level required to be a dental therapist is equal to training received by a dentist for the same scope of practice. Remember, dental therapists aren’t trained to do the nearly 400 procedures that dentists are, dental therapists are trained on only approximately 90 procedures. They require less training than a dentist because they aren’t doing everything a dentist can do! House Bill 1426 requires the dental therapist to be a graduate of a state board approved dental therapy education program, as accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. The therapist would also have to pass state exams to demonstrate competency in dental therapy and complete 500 hours of clinical practice under the supervision of a dentist.

House Bill 1426 is sponsored by eleven North Dakota legislators (five senators and six representatives), from both sides of the state and both sides of the aisle. Join them and our list of coalition members in voting yes on improving access to quality dental care!

List of HB 1426 Supporters, North Dakotans for Dental Access

AARP North Dakota
Alliance for Health Care Access (Grand Forks)
Community Action Partnership of ND
Family Voices of ND
Fargo-Moorhead Coalition for Homeless Persons
North Dakota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
North Dakota Dental Hygienists’ Association
North Dakota Nurses Association
North Dakota Nurse Practitioners Association
North Dakota Protection and Advocacy Project
North Dakota Public Health Association
North Dakota Rural Health Association
North Dakota State Association of City and County Health Officers
North Dakota Women’s Network
Northland Health Centers
Third Street Clinic (Grand Forks)
Americans for Prosperity
Americans for Tax Reform
The Pew Charitable Trusts
United Tribes of North Dakota
Spirit Lake Tribe
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Three Affiliated Tribes of Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians

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