Letter to the editor: Support dental therapists
Support dental therapists
Growing up in rural Michigan, the closest dentist was a forty-minute drive from our house. Like most, my parent's goals included ensuring that our family received adequate dental care. Unfortunately, due to their full time jobs and rural location, accessibility to oral care was an issue. While living in Vermont for the last few years, I have learned that Vermonters are struggling with these very issues. This is why I hope the legislature will pass S.20, a bill that will allow dental therapists to practice in the state and increase access to oral health care for all Vermonters.
Many Vermonters, even those with dental insurance, face barriers to care due to cost, lack of access to dentists in their healthcare network, or location. These issues, paired with the problem that more than half of the dentists in Vermont will be at retirement age in the next decade, will make it more difficult for people to get access to adequate dental care.
These issues can be reduced by dental therapists, which are mid-level providers that perform common procedures like cleanings and fillings. States like Alaska and Minnesota are an example of how dental therapists provide high quality oral health care and improve access. This solution can expand dental care to the underserved areas in Vermont. This is why I support mid-level dental providers because I understand how hard it is to get access to oral health care.
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