Help Expand Affordable Dental Access

AARP ND has been a part of a coalition called North Dakotans for Dental Access. Despite a gradual increase in the number of dentists over the past few years, North Dakota still does not have enough to provide routine care for the state’s growing population. This has been especially impactful to older North Dakotans who don't have dental insurance, limiting their ability to affordably get dental work done.

In 2014, the UND Center for Rural Health conducted a study of oral health needs in ND. One of the top recommendations identified was dental therapists, who are similar to physician assistants in the medical field and can provide preventive and routine treatment such as fillings.  Dental therapists work under the supervision of a dentist and help them extend routine care to people who currently don’t have access, such as the young, the poor and the elderly. Dental therapists could work in various settings. Private practice dentists, especially in rural areas, could hire them to expand care to more people. They could also work in community health centers or mobile programs, serving kids in schools and seniors in nursing homes and assisted living centers. With a dental therapist providing more routine care, a dentist would have greater availability for more complex cases.

House Bill 1426 would authorize dental therapists in ND. We encourage you to send your Representative a note in support of House Bill 1426.

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Support HB 1426- Midlevel Dental Therapists

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing in support of HB 1426. As you may know, this bill would authorize dental therapist, a mid level dental provider much like a nurse practitioner in the medical field, in a dental practice in North Dakota. Older North Dakotans are the most likely age group to report having dental problems. This is in part because they don't have dental insurance once they reach Medicare age.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]