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Minnesota became the first state to pass legislation to create a training option for a mid-level dental health practitioner to be licensed, with the goal of providing more basic services to underserved rural populations in the state.
The new providers, educated under the Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner model, will administer educational, preventive, palliative, therapeutic and restorative services to these populations who currently have limited access to dental care.
"The passage of the legislation in Minnesota is truly historic," said American Dental Hygienists' Association President Diann Bomkamp. "The underserved in Minnesota who have long struggled to obtain dental care that is so vital to their overall health will now have a new provider to seek care from and a new way to enter into the healthcare system."
The bill establishes the roles of Dental Therapist and Advanced Dental Therapist, distinguished by what dental health services they can provide and the amount of onsite supervision by a dentist that is necessary.
While the new law may help with the shortage of licensed practitioners to provide care, it does not address the many who lack dental insurance in the state.
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