North Dakotans for Dental Access
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North Dakotans for Dental Access News

Study shows dental therapists helping veterans’ nursing home residents; MI Senate passes dental therapy

North Dakota Dental Care Facts:
Fact: Among nursing home residents with teeth, 1/3 needs urgent care—but facilities report a major barrier to providing oral health care is finding dentists who accept Medicaid.1
 
Study shows dental therapists stabilizing the oral health of long-term care residents at veterans’ nursing home
A case study conducted by Apple Tree Dental, a Minnesota-based nonprofit, found that most of the oral health needs of residents in the Minnesota Veterans Home could be met by dental therapists. These providers work under the supervision of a dentist and have been practicing in Minnesota since 2011. At the Veterans Home, the dental therapists often work remotely from their supervising dentist, taking care of routine needs, and the dentist visits the Home a different day to take care of more serious needs. Click here to read more.

Michigan Senate passes dental therapist bill
Earlier this month, Senate lawmakers in Michigan passed legislation authorizing and licensing the use of dental therapists in their state. The legislation would allow dental therapists to practice in dental shortage areas, safety-net settings, or in practices where at least half of the dental therapists’ patients meet certain low-income requirements. The bill now goes to the House. To read more about the legislation, click here, or to understand the difference dental therapy can make, click here

It’s Incredibly Hard to Get Dental Care in Rural America
An estimated 49 million Americans live in places like rural Minnesota, where the dentist-to-patient ratio is higher than 1 to 5,000, and the vast majority does not accept Medicaid. One potential solution is to allow dentists to hire dental therapists. Mary Otto, author of “Teeth: The Story of Beauty Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America” takes an in-depth look into how a clinic in Minnesota is increasing revenue and seeing more patients since hiring these providers.
 
America's Dental Crisis Is Happening. Here Is the Solution.
Real Clear Politics published an article recently on how states are trying to license mid-level dental practitioners, to address their oral health care shortages. To read more about the lack of dental health professionals, as well as what places like Minnesota, Texas and North Dakota are doing or considering doing by making dental therapists an option for dentists to add to their team, click here.

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[1] UND Center for Rural Health, “Oral Health among the North Dakota Elderly,” October 2016, Schroeder S, UND Center for Rural Health, “Oral Health Services Provided and the Perceived Barriers to Providing Services in LTC Facilities,” (Presented at Academy Health Annual Research Meeting, Boston, MA), June 27, 2016.

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