North Dakotans for Dental Access
North Dakotans for Dental Access News

Two North Dakota Tribes pass support for dental therapy

MHA and Turtle Mountain pass support for dental therapy

In July, both the Three Affiliated Tribes/Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians passed resolutions of support requesting that the state pass legislation authorizing Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHATs) to provide desperately needed dental care to their communities. The tribal resolutions follow the previously supported resolution agreed to by the United Tribes of North Dakota earlier this year. Despite dental therapy, a mid-level provider for restorative care under the supervision of a dentist, being a part of the dental care team in some 50 countries for nearly 100 years parts of the United States have been slow to adopt this option to increase dental access. The native communities in Alaska were early adopters of the Dental Therapist/DHAT concept starting in 2004. Because of Alaska’s push to improve access to dental care some 40,000 more people in approximately 81 rural Alaska Native communities have been helped.
Dental Therapy is working in Minnesota, Why not North Dakota?

A guest post by State Senator Oley Larsen (District 3 – Minot) was published on the Say Anything blog in July, covering Larsen’s thoughts on how dental therapy is working in Minnesota to help increase dental access for those in greatest need. After giving a quick background on what dental therapy is, Larsen states that “This is truly a win-win for increasing access to care and improving the bottom-line income for a dentistry business.”

He also reiterated the point that there is no drop off in quality of care or required standards for dental therapists as the training and testing for dental therapy students is done side-by-side with dentistry students. And in the end, “The efforts of a dental therapist can go a long way to improving access for those who need it the most – children, Native Americans, the elderly, and those on Medicaid.”

Click here to read the full guest post on the Say Anything blog.
400k grant to Vermont for dental therapy training program

A state that passed support for dental therapy in 2016 has received a boost to start their workforce training program geared toward improving dental access. Vermont Technical College has received a $400,000 federal grant to help get its dental therapy program up and running. The grant is coming from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and will help cover costs for building a simulation lab, equipment and personnel. The program is expected to take in 10 students in spring 2020.
Support for dental therapy growing in Michigan

A Michigan senate bill is picking up supporters, as it moves along the process of approving a mid-level dental professional, the dental therapist, to the options a dentist has to provide care. The Detroit News recently wrote an editorial in support of the bill. Under Michigan’s version of this bill, dental therapists in private dental offices would be required to ensure at least half of their patients are Medicaid recipients. In the editorial, the Detroit News compares the dental therapist to a physician’s assistant in their ability to serve more patients at a lower cost, thereby expanding access to dental care.

Copyright ©2023 North Dakotans for Dental Access