AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation today released a paper by John Davidson, director of the Center for Health Care Policy at TPPF, discussing how to improve access to dental care in Texas. The paper, Dental Workforce Reform in Texas, examines how creating a new class of midlevel dental providers, called dental therapists or dental hygiene practitioners, could help Texas solve its dentist shortage problems and improve access to routine dental care.

“Texas has a serious shortage of dentists, which makes it hard for many Texans, especially Medicaid enrollees or those who live in rural areas, to find a dentist,” said Davidson. “What most Texans need is basic, routine care, like fillings and tooth extractions. Those things can be done by midlevel providers who are trained to do them. A growing body of research, as well as the experience of other states and dozens of developed countries, show that this is a safe, effective way to increase access to dental care. If Texas wants to lead the country with innovative, market-driven policies, it should enact dental workforce reform by creating a new class of midlevel dental providers.”
To read the full paper, please visit:

For more information on access to dental care, please visit:

John Davidson is director of the Center for Health Care Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas.

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