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Permanent link  Two dental organizations back dental therapist programs

01/20/2010

Recently the Chicago Dental Society received word that two dental associations are positioning themselves at the forefront of the controversy over dental therapists.

Earlier this week, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry announced that the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation were funding a grant to develop a two-year, post-secondary school curriculum for dental therapists.

The project will be headed by Dr. Caswell Evans, Chairman of a related Kellogg Foundation Advisory Committee, and Associate Dean for Prevention and Public Health Sciences at the UIC College of Dentistry, and will also encompass curriculum changes within dental schools so that dentists will be able to supervise dental therapists, educational settings in which to deliver training to dental therapists, the path for career development and skill advancement, and licensure and accreditation issues.

Last week, DrBicuspid.com (registration required) reported that the Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) was backing a pilot program to bring dental health aide therapists into the state. In November of last year, the CSDA House of Delegates voted to set up a demonstration project, which will take two years to establish.

The organization wants to investigate whether dental therapists could improve access to care, particularly for school children.

The Academy of General Dentistry and Connecticut Dental Hygienists' Association have both sharply criticized the plan.

CSDA president Bruce Tandy, DMD, says, "We're trying to take control of the issue before someone else takes control of it for us."

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