North Dakotans for Dental Access
North Dakotans for Dental Access News

Right and left agree – dental therapy is good for health care

Left and Right on same page: Allow dentists to hire dental therapists

As the authors themselves of a recently published op-ed point out – it’s not every day that Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, and Don Berwick formerly of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agree on much of anything. In this case, it’s the benefit of dental therapists being allowed to be a part of the oral health care team.

This is one of our favorite parts from the article that ran in the Chicago Tribune earlier this month: “Dental therapists would make a big difference in the lives of the many Americans who are struggling to find dental care. As the health care debate continues at the national level, allowing dental therapists to practice is a bipartisan solution that state legislators can adopt right now that benefits small businesses, helps patients and eases the burden of rising health care costs, including Medicaid.”

Click here to read the entire commentary and to better understand why the left and the right agree – dental therapy is a proven program that is good for health care in the U.S.

Florida considering allowing dental therapists to work in the Sunshine State

Another state, Florida, is considering addressing their shortage in dental care options by allowing dentists to add dental therapists to their team. Right now, in Florida, 5.5 million people reside in communities that are designated as dental care health professional shortage areas. The legislative proposal currently being brought forth would offer “families who lack reliable access to dentists the opportunity to receive affordable oral care.” More information on Florida’s dental shortage and pending legislation can be found in a recent analysis by the Heartland Institute. Click here.

Florida is not alone in figuring out solutions to dental shortages in rural areas. In North Dakota, nearly half of all counties have no dentists or just one. As a matter of fact, more than 60% of all practicing dentists do so in the four largest counties – leaving rural residents with fewer and fewer options for affordable dental care.

And – Did you know? – dental therapists are working in border communities just on the other side of the Red River. We will have more in future newsletters from Moorhead on how a program that has been in Minnesota for nearly ten years is helping provide children with much-needed preventive oral health care. 

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