Opinion Columns & Blogs

July 18, 2014 12:00 AM

'Dental therapists’ could give more Americans the care they need

In 2009, 830,000 visits to emergency rooms around the country could have been prevented if the patients had seen a dentist earlier. In 2011, more than half of children on Medicaid went without dental care. One potential solution is to license less-qualified “dental therapists” to carry out some basic services, such as filling cavities, that currently only dentists perform. Behind this effort is the experience of more than 50 countries and a few states that allow these mid-level providers to practice in public and private settings.

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