Roughly 45 million Americans live in areas with a dentist shortage, making it difficult to access dental care regardless of income or insurance coverage. Additionally, only a small portion of dentists accept Medicaid, which means many low-income people face added barriers. Together, these problems compound to limit access to dental care. One solution to this problem is to expand the dental team with additional providers, similar to physician's assistants or nurse practitioners in the medical field. These providers perform routine preventive and restorative care, including filling cavities. They already work in more than 50 countries, including Canada and Britain, as well as two states—Minnesota and Alaska. In this video, three dentists discuss the problems many Americans have accessing dental care and the potential solution of expanding the dental team.
For more information, visit http://www.pewstates.org/projects/childrens-dental-policy-328060.