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New Research Demonstrates High Levels of Satisfaction With Dental Therapy Model


The Center for Health Workforce Studies, School of Public Health, University at Albany, State University of New York, published results from surveys of providers and patients who had worked with or been treated by dental therapists, midlevel practitioners who can deliver additional services, such as restorative care, without direct supervision of a dentist. Conducted at the Apple Tree Dental Centers in Minnesota—the first state to offer dental therapy education programs outside of Tribal communities—one survey was for dental team members who worked alongside dental therapists, including dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and administrators, while the other was directed at patients of dental therapists.

The provider survey included 89 respondents and results showed a high level of satisfaction with the dental therapist model; most participants viewed dental therapists as collaborative rather than competitive providers. The patient survey included 898 participants. Results showed patients felt well cared for within the dental therapy model at Apple Tree Dental Centers, and that their access to professional dental care increased due to the incorporation of the dental therapy workforce. Participants did not report a decrease in their quality of care. Click here to read more.

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