By Steven Krauss, D.D.S. - Printed in the Grand Forks Herald
October 15, 2015
Recently, a Herald editorial supported the use of dental midlevel providers. And in his column responding to this editorial, Dr. Brent Holman, executive director of the North Dakota Dental Association, mischaracterizes the debate and the facts ("Dental therapist experiment isn't working," column, Page A4, Oct. 9).
He asserts the editorial claimed that dental therapists would be the solution to North Dakota's oral health problems. He maintains that proponents of the concept think it is a "one size fits all solution," while the American and North Dakota Dental Associations are pursuing multiple avenues to solve the dilemma. Actually, supporters see the model as one of many creative solutions necessary to solve a national crisis.
Holman also alleges the model would invent a new type of dental provider, ignoring the fact that therapists have been providing safe and effective care throughout the world for decades.
He further claims therapists have a lowered standard of training for dental procedures, when in fact, therapists undergo more formal training in the procedures they perform than do many dental school graduates.
Holman condescendingly refers to "lobbyists being paid to pass dental therapy legislation," as if this activity is somehow unethical, when in fact organized dental associations nationwide spend millions of dollars per year in lobbying fees. He also hints that dental therapy legislation would create new problems, without explaining what problems he is referring to.
The reality is that proponents of midlevel providers in dentistry are simply promoting the implementation of a model of care with mounds of evidence supporting its safety, effectiveness and quality, as part of a comprehensive solution to a health care predicament.
Dental societies nationwide are frivolously wasting time and resources opposing the model without any scientific evidence against it. What is their true rationale?
Dr. Krauss is a dentist and an assistant clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
You can read the original letter here.