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First analysis of dental therapists finds increase in access for children, low-income adults
Date:5/14/2013

Boston, MA, May 14, 2013A new report assessing the economic viability of services provided by practicing midlevel dental providers in the U.S. shows that they are expanding preventive dental care to people who need it most: children and those who can't afford care. At the same time, they are providing that care at a reduced cost to the dental practice. The report, released today by Community Catalyst, determined that midlevel dental providers currently practicing in Alaska and Minnesota cost their employers 27 and 29 percent respectively of the revenue they generate.

The report is the first to analyze the economic viability of practicing midlevel dental providers in the U.S. It comes at a time when more than a dozen states are exploring using midlevel dental providers as a way to greatly expand access to dental care. According to the federal government, approximately 45 million people in the U.S. live in areas where there are not enough dentists to serve the population. Millions more can't afford dental care.

The economic study conducted for Community Catalyst by Frances M. Kim, DDS, DrPH, a general dentist and public health researcher, details the types of procedures that practicing dental therapists in the U.S. perform, the amount of money they generate in relation to the type of procedure and the population they are able to serve. According to the study, nearly 85 percent of the care they provide is routine and preventive. Filling cavities represented approximately one quarter of their work.

"For the first time we have a real picture of what it means to employ a midlevel dental provider," said Kim. "What we are seeing is that midlevel providers are providing mostly preventive care to the most economically-challenged patients and are still able to generate enough revenue to ensure that dental practices that
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Contact: Bethanne Fox
bfox@burnesscommunications.com
301-448-7411
Burness Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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