Issue Brief

Dental Therapists in New Zealand: What the Evidence Shows


This brief provides an overview of New Zealand's use of dental therapists to provide care for children, and offers insights for U.S. policymakers about how midlevel providers can expand children's access to dental care.

New Zealand has employed dental therapists since 1921, longer than any other country. Working mainly in primary schools, these providers contribute to its high level of access to care for children. By contrast, the latest data show that millions of low-income children in the United States went a full year without dental care.

Correction: An earlier version of this brief used mislabeled data from a 2012 report produced by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, to compare dental health outcomes for children in the United States and New Zealand. This brief and the original CDC source report have been revised and corrected.

Download the issue brief.

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Mary McNamara

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