Can midlevel dental providers be a benefit to the American public?

Tobias E. Rodriguez, Audrey L. Galka, Ernestine S. Lacy, August D. Pellegrini, Domenica G. Sweier, Laura M. Romito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The use of midlevel dental providers (MLDPs) is being debated as a means of reducing oral health disparities and increasing access to care among underserved populations. Midlevel dental providers include the advanced dental hygiene practitioner, community dental health coordinator, dental health aide therapist, and dental therapist. While midlevel providers are new to the U.S. dental profession, medicine has utilized these positions for years. Medical literature has shown mixed results as to whether midlevel providers improve access to care and increased practice efficiency, however, it has demonstrated clearly that the quality of care outcomes of these providers have been comparable to those of physicians. Studies of MLDPs suggest potential practice and public health benefits. With appropriate training, licensure, supervision, and deployment to geographical areas of significant need, we believe MLDPs could increase access to care to underserved populations and help in the prevention of deaths attributable to untreated dental disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)892-906
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2013

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Keywords

  • Access to care
  • Midlevel dental provider
  • Oral health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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