North Dakotans for Dental Access
North Dakotans for Dental Access News

Understanding Dental Therapy, in just 2.5 minutes

ND Dental Care Fact: A review of more than 1,100 studies on dental therapists show they provide high quality care.1

Dental Therapy explained in 2.5 minutes

For more than 125 million Americans, routine dental care is out of reach. But there’s a solution that can help: dental therapy.

And now there is a simple way to help people understand the basics when it comes to dental therapists. Click here to view the video put together by Pew Charitable Trusts that explains how a dental therapist is similar to a nurse practitioner, but works under the supervision of the dentist. They can travel all over the state to help people who may have trouble accessing dental care, such as children or seniors. 

The video is only two-and-a-half minutes long, and explains how dental therapists, like those working in Minnesota since 2011, are making a difference when it comes to dental health and why more U.S. states are allowing dentists to hire dental therapists.
Arizona Senate passes dental therapy bill and Michigan bill advances

Bills that would address dental access concerns in Arizona and Michigan are making their way through the legislative process.

In just over two weeks, SB 1377 moved through two committees and the full Senate in Arizona. On February 7, Arizona’s Senate Health Committee voted to move forward SB 1377, legislation that would establish dental therapists as “mid-level” providers, who would play a role similar to that of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the medical world. On February 15, the AZ Senate Education Committee voted to pass SB 1377. The bill then passed the full Senate, 22-8, with strong bipartisan support! 

With broad bipartisan support, the Michigan Senate passed legislation at the end of last year to authorize dental therapists to practice in the state. SB 541 would help address Michigan’s serious dental access challenges by increasing the availability of dental providers able to care for patients’ routine oral health needs. The bill has been referred to the House Health Policy Committee for consideration.

Michigan and Arizona are following the lead of Minnesota, Vermont, and Maine, which have authorized dental therapists to work statewide, as well as Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, where they are able to work in tribal communities. More than a dozen other states are considering similar bills, including Florida and Wisconsin where legislatures heard bills on dental therapy last week – no votes were taken in these respective bills.
1. According to David A. Nash et al., “A Review of the Global Literature on Dental Therapists,” Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology (2013)

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