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Dental Therapy Timeline

This timeline demonstrates the progression of dental therapy from its beginnings in the tribal lands of Alaska to its current adoption or consideration in more than a dozen states.

*click to enlarge


  • Alaska native communities with dental therapists had lower rates of tooth extractions and more preventive care than Alaska native communities without access to such care.
  • In 2014, the first analysis of the effects of dental therapy in Minnesota was published.2,3 This evaluation determined the following:
  • The practice of dental therapy was safe.
  • The addition of dental therapists enabled clinics to treat more patients, all of whom are underserved.
  • Decreased wait times and travel times for patients.
  • Patients reported high levels of satisfaction with the care.


  1. American Dental Hygienists’ Association. Dental Therapy Is Authorized by State Law. Available at: Access_to_Dental_Therapy.pdf. Accessed November 4, 2020.
  2. Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Board of Dentistry. Early Impacts of Dental Therapists in Minnesota: Report to the Minnesota Legislature. Available at:​boards/​assets/​2014DentalTherapistReport_​tcm21-45970_​tcm21-313376.pdf. Accessed November 4, 2020.
  3. Brickle CM, Self KD. Dental therapists as new oral health practitioners: increasing access for underserved populations. J Dent Educ. 2017;81:eS65–eS72.

From Perspectives on the Midlevel Practitioner, a supplement to Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. November 2020(12):6.

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