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It takes a team: How new dental providers can benefit patients, practices

from Pew Center on the States

Policymakers in a number of states are considering the creation of new types of licensed professionals who would work with dentists to deliver primary dental care to children and other underserved patients. This report is the first to examine the potential effects of dental therapists and hygienist-therapists (also called allied providers) on the productivity and profits of private dental practices, where 92 percent of the nation's dentists work. Some dentists are concerned that authorizing new types of dental professionals could negatively affect their businesses. Pew's analysis, however, shows that most private-practice dentists who hire an allied provider can serve more patients while maintaining or improving their financial bottom line. Importantly, most dentists who add a dental therapist or hygienist-therapist to their team can treat more Medicaid enrollees and still preserve or increase their income. more


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