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Dental Therapists Could Bridge Gaps in Dentist Access

If you’ve ever been to a doctor on a busy day, or needed to see a physician but didn’t want to be on a months-long wait list, you may have been treated in the interim by a nurse practitioner (NP). A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse (RN) who has completed more advanced training than a standard RN has.  Similar to the NP license, the dentistry community in many states is considering adding a third level of dental practitioner, called a Dental Therapist- to their licensing structure. But though this seems like a great way to solve a dentistry shortage in many communities, the proposal is facing strong opposition from some dentists. We spoke to Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, Texas about how dental therapists may or may not benefit the dental field.

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