States Expand the Use of Dental Therapy

Midlevel providers help increase access to care

Editor’s note: This page was last updated on March 1, 2022, to reflect which states have acted or are considering steps to authorize dental therapists to practice. It is no longer being updated.

Dental therapists—midlevel providers whose work is similar to that of 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 in underserved areas, several have passed laws that allow dental therapists to be part of the care delivery system, and others are exploring the option. Dental therapists are also authorized to practice in several tribal communities, where access to care can be especially limited.

Share

Dental therapists are authorized to practice only in tribal settings in Alaska, Idaho, Washington, and Montana.

 

Note: The map has been updated repeatedly since 2016 to show which states have acted or are considering steps to authorize dental therapists to practice.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Article

More States Adopt Laws to Boost Oral Health Care Workforces

Quick View
Article

More States Adopt Laws to Boost Oral Health Care Workforces

Six states have passed laws in the past 12 months authorizing dental therapists to practice in a role similar to physician assistants in medicine. The addition of Connecticut, Idaho, Nevada, and New Mexico brings to 12 the number of states that allow dental therapy in some capacity.

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies

Explore

Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.