States Expand the Use of Dental Therapy

Access to care increases when dentists are authorized to hire midlevel providers

States Expand the Use of Dental Therapy

Note: This page has been updated repeatedly to reflect what has happened in the states. The latest update was June 28, 2018. For details, see below the map.

Dental therapists—midlevel providers similar to physician assistants in medicine—deliver preventive and routine restorative care, such as filling cavities, placing temporary crowns, and extracting badly diseased or loose teeth. As states grapple with provider shortages, especially to serve vulnerable populations, a handful have acted to allow dentists to hire these practitioners, and many others are exploring the option. Dental therapists also practice in several tribal communities, where access to care can be especially limited.


This page was updated on June 28, 2018, to show that Arizona had enacted a dental therapy law. On May 16, 2017, the map was updated to reflect that Oregon had launched a pilot program allowing dental therapists to operate in the state. The page also had been updated on Jan. 19 and 27, 2017, Oct. 24, 2017, and Jan. 5, 2018, to reflect that Maryland, Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin, respectively, are actively exploring authorizing dental therapy, and that dental therapy legislation is no longer active in New Hampshire or Texas.