Perspectives on the Midlevel Practitioner
The 6th edition of Perspectives on the Midlevel Practitioner—Dimensions’ annual supplement—takes a closer look at the role dental therapy may play in efforts to ensure that the millions of Americans without access to oral health care can receive the preventive therapy and dental treatment they need. When faced with an oral health crisis among native populations in Alaska, tribal and health leaders sprang into action, importing the dental therapist model of care from New Zealand. Now that model has evolved not only among native communities but is also expanding into a dental hygienist-based model first implemented in Minnesota. Perspectives discusses this model, which continues to gain momentum and acceptance in areas with access-to-care problems across the nation, with good reason. Not only does the introduction of a new member of the dental team provide opportunity for dental hygienists but it is also sure to help the millions of Americans who so desperately need professional oral health care. A newly introduced dental therapy model in the state of Michigan is also discussed, as well as a legislative update and a review of alternative practice settings for dental hygienists.
REACHING THE UNDERSERVED
By Lorene G. Kent, RDH, BA
The past year has seen the expansion of the midlevel practitioner and scope of practice for dental hygienists.
ACCESS TO CARE
School-based sealant programs are effective in the fight against tooth decay, but state regulations and policies interfere with their implementation.
By Jane Koppelman, MPA
As the number of older adults living in long-term care facilities continues to grow, dental hygienists are well-positioned to provide care to this vulnerable population.
By Diana Macri, RDH, BSDH, MSEd
By including dental hygienists in its dental school faculty, A.T. Still University Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health is expanding opportunities for dental hygienists and improving dental education.
By Laura Gail Hendricks, RDH, MEd, and Kimberly Lovell, RDH, MEd
The success of the dental health aide therapist has ignited its expansion across native communities in the United States.
By Ruth Ballweg, MPA, PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA, and Louis Fiset, DDS
Tribal Washington State dental therapists go the extra mile to help underserved populations.
By Miranda E. Davis, DDS, MPH
Michigan takes a step forward to increasing access to oral health care with the passage of dental therapist legislation.
By Ann Battrell, MSDH, and Ann Lynch
ALTERNATIVE PRACTICE SETTINGS
Michigan is improving the oral health of pregnant women and their children through Public Dental Prevention Programs.
By Christine Farrell, RDH, BSDH, MPA, and Emily Norrix, MPH
Arizona is making a difference in the oral health of its most vulnerable children through an innovative program.
By Laurie Clark, RDH, BADH, AP