We can do better with dental therapists.

Dental therapists have brought oral health care to thousands of people in the United States who would have otherwise gone without it. Across the country, community leaders, consumer advocates, educators, dentists and public health champions want to make sure they can practice everywhere they are needed. Learn more

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Expanding access to routine dental care.

Working in some of the country’s most severe dental shortage areas since in 2004, today, dental therapists are the primary oral healthcare providers in these communities, referring patients that need additional care to their supervising dentists.

Creating a dental home through team-based care.

Through team-based care similar to the way a physician’s assistant contributes to a medical team, dental therapists work on a dentist led team to provide community education, prevention and some of the most common dental procedures including filling routine cavities and in limited cases extractions.

Improving dental care outcomes for children and adults.

The first long-term study of dental therapists in the U.S. found the providers are improving access to care resulting in both adults and children getting more preventive care and keeping their natural teeth.

We have an oral health crisis in our country.

Nearly a third of people in the U.S. are unable to get the dental care they need including a significant percentage of our nation’s children and seniors. It can be debilitating and have long-lasting health impacts. Untreated tooth decay affects peoples’ ability to eat, go to school or work and can lead to life-threatening infections.  

Today, dental therapists are delivering oral health care to thousands of people in the United States who otherwise would not be able to receive it. Dental therapists are improving access to preventive and early dental care, as well as oral health education, resulting in fewer people needing more costly, invasive treatment.

But not everyone has the opportunity to see a dental therapist – currently, they only practice in certain states. Across the country, community leaders, consumer advocates, educators, dentists, dental hygienists and public health champions are actively working to change that.  Everyone, including the most vulnerable, in our country should have the opportunity to receive basic oral health care, especially when there are realistic options available.  

Yet, close to 50 million people are unable to receive dental care in the communities in which they live.

Who needs Dental Therapy?

Who is most likely to go without care they need when and where they need it?

  • People in rural communities
  • People living in poverty
  • Seniors
  • People in tribal communities
  • People with disabilities

We can do better with dental therapists.