Texas public policy foundation
The Case for Licensing Dental Therapists in North Dakota
 
RESEARCH
 

The question of whether North Dakota should permit the licensing and practice of midlevel providers of oral care known as dental therapists is frequently posed to lawmakers as a choice between high standards of patient care and greater access for underserved patients. Proponents of licensing dental therapists reject this quality vs. access dichotomy. Opponents embrace it. This policy brief frames the decision more starkly. The question really facing North Dakota lawmakers is, “Does licensing dental therapists in North Dakota pose a risk to public health great enough to justify depriving (1) dentists of their right to employ and supervise dental therapists and (2) patients of their right to access providers of their choice?”

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