June 01, 2009
What dental therapists and advanced dental therapists in Minnesota can do
St. Paul, Minn.—The Minnesota Dental Association, with public affairs assistance from the ADA, was able to affect key changes in the final legislation to help ensure safe care for patients, including the following:
- A single term for the so-called "midlevel" practitioner was approved, the dental therapist, which includes two levels of practitioners: dental therapists and advanced dental therapists.
- A dental therapist will have to work with on-site supervision of a licensed dentist.
- A dental therapist will not be able to extract permanent teeth.
- Neither a dental therapist nor an advanced dental therapist will be able to prescribe medications.
- The discipline of dental therapy will remain distinct and separate from dental hygiene.
- Populations most in need will be the primary patient group for dental therapists and advanced dental therapists.
- A comprehensive outcomes assessment will be conducted to study the impact and quality of care provided by dental therapists.
- An advanced dental therapist will need at least 2,000 hours of practice as a dental therapist and additional education, testing and certification beyond that of a dental therapist in order to treat patients without a dentist on-site.
- An advanced dental therapist can assess the patient but will need to receive approval for a treatment plan from a supervising dentist before performing restorative and surgical procedures on a patient.
- An advanced dental therapist will be able to perform some additional procedures, such as nonsurgical extraction of periodontally involved adult teeth, when authorized by a supervising dentist.