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Letters: Solutions that work

April 23, 2012

It was great to see your article in the ADA News "Kansas Initiative Encourages ‘Dental Desert’ Practice" (March 5 issue). Creating "solutions that will work rather than solutions that will not work such as the dental therapist" (my words) is what I have been saying for the past two years.

It was nice to see confirmation that others are looking at loan forgiveness programs as a time-tested model rather than reinvent unproven programs to solve geographic access problems where they exist.

In my state of Washington, we have rural areas in the state where advanced programs in general dentistry and distance learning facilities as part of predoctoral dental education are being used as other solutions as well.

The results are beginning to show that dentists trained in rural areas tend to stay at a rate of 30-40 percent, according to Dr. Mark Koday, dental director of the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic and the Northwest Dental Residency, a residency program sponsored by the University of Washington School of Dentistry and located in community health center clinics. As it relies on the UW and private sector for the didactic portion of the program, the NDR is an example of the public, private and education sectors uniting to solve access problems.

This will go far in solving access in my view.

Bryan Edgar, D.D.S.
Federal Way, Wash.