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Can Dentists and Dental Therapists Work Together?

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Dental therapists receive 2 years of rigorous training in the field before going out and assisting in the practice. They typically provide services such as cleanings and extractions all the way to pediatric crowns. Dental therapists have to be legally approved to practice.

"You can't deny that there are more people having trouble receiving dental care," Heather Luebben, an advanced dental therapist said in a USA Today article. "We have rural areas that just don't have enough dentists."

The American Dental Association is against dental therapists, believing that 2 years of education before entering the field doesn?t provide the therapists enough knowledge to properly handle patients.

"The ADA does not consider the one-size-fits-all mid-level dental provider model to be a viable solution to the diverse set of barriers that impede millions from getting dental care," the ADA said in a statement.

A main source of the friction between dental therapists and dentists is caused by the belief that the 2 are battling each other not only economically, but also for patients. However, Leubben believes that the 2 sides should act as allies. 

"I see us as another provider who is able to work along with dentists," she says. "The more people we have trained, the more people who can care for others."

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