Research Center: Oral Health Workforce Research Center
Adding new types of clinicians is often a policy strategy to address clinician shortages and enhance access to health care. In oral health, several states have sought to expand the dental workforce to include dental therapists, which are primary dental care providers who can evaluate and treat basic dental conditions under the supervision of a dentist. The aim of adding dental therapists to the dental team is to improve the affordability of dental care to expand access for underserved populations, particularly low-income and uninsured individuals in rural and tribal areas.
This article assesses the changes in dental care use in Minnesota after the implementation of the policy to authorize dental therapists in 2009.