Opinion: Dental therapists: a solution for better access to dental care

Difficulty getting dental care is the norm in much of the United States, especially in rural areas. One problem is that there aren’t enough providers. Mid-level dental providers, or dental therapists, can help fill that gap, but they face resistance from dentists.

Rural America has long struggled to access any type of health care, including dental care. In certain parts of Appalachia, there are only four dentists for every 100,000 people, far lower than the national average of 61 dentists per 100,000 people. Coupled with higher rates of poverty, these rural communities face an uphill battle to achieve good oral health.

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