Opinion

Dr. Bicuspid: A Response to ADA's 'Scientific Study' of Dental Therapists

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The results of the ADA study published in the January 2013 Journal of the American Dental Association do nothing to discredit the utilization of dental therapists in the workforce in their traditional role of providing care for children in school-based programs.

Nothing in the study refutes the conclusions reached last year in a comprehensive review of the global literature by 16 international colleagues and myself. Those conclusions were that dental therapists in public programs caring for children improve access to care; provide safe, quality care resulting in improved oral health outcomes; and do so economically. Surely members of the ADA House of Delegates will be disappointed with the results of this new study, which they authorized more than a year ago, at considerable expense to the membership.

It is critical to note that a significant number of relatively recent epidemiological studies by international ministries of health relative to the effectiveness of dental therapists' practice were, for unknown reasons, not included in the ADA report. However, they are readily available in the recent comprehensive review of the global literature mentioned previously. These studies continue to document the superiority of oral health outcomes for children in international public school-based programs staffed by dental therapists versus the outcomes of the dentist-focused, private practice model in the U.S.

Read the full article at DrBicuspid.com.