SOME INFO ON WHY OHP4C MADE THE RECOMMENDATIONS IT DID
Note the MA Dental Therapist bill, as written, requires only 3 years of education TOTAL...including the 2 years it takes to become a dental hygienist.
Some hygienist's organizations are saying that is " just one year less than what dentists receive"
TO BE A DENTIST: It is required that the individual complete a four year college degree that includes the following either as part of a major or an elective: 6 semester hours of inorganic chemistry, 6 semester hours of organic chemistry, 6 semester hours of physics, 6 semester hours of biology, and 6 semester hours of English/Humanities. The individual also needs to take and do well on the Dental Aptitude Test: a day long didactic, hands-on carving, and spacial acuity test.
Next the individual has to be accepted at a dental school. Most often there are one to two thousand applicants for just 100 to 200 spots in a first year class. Not an easy task to get accepted.
Dental school is four years. During those four years the individual who wishes to become a dentist must complete courses in the medical school ( examples: gross anatomy...yes, your dentist dissected a human cadaver...histology, neuroanatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, et cetera ...all at least one semester long, many two semesters).
Concurrently with these studies the individual spends time in the laboratory learning materials: metallurgy, ceramics, sculpture, casting, et cetera.
Concurrently with the above two studies the individual who would be a dentist spends time in the dental clinic treating live patients. The first year, second semester, only doing dental hygiene things, but second year on the dental student becomes proficient in all aspects of dentistry under the supervision of a dentist clinical instructor. Included are courses on how each procedure is done, the possible side effects, both medical and dental, and how to deal with and reverse each.
During these four years of 18 hour days, 7 days per week the dental student is required to take and pass 2 two day national board examinations, sitting for one after the second year of study and the other in the last semester of the fourth year. These examinations cover all aspects of the individual's studies.
Once all this has been accomplished and the individual graduates from dental school with a doctorate in dentistry, he/she must take and pass a two day, live patient, multi procedure state or regional dental board exam to become a licensed dentist.
TO BE A HYGIENIST: The individual wishing to be a dental hygienist must complete two years of dental hygiene school after high school. After which there is a national board and a state board that test at the level the hygiene student was taught.
In the bill as written only one more year of training would be needed to be a dental therapist.
When I began my practice I moonlighted for three years as an instructor at Middlesex Community College's Dental Hygiene Program. Among other things, I taught the one semester pharmacology course. The dental hygiene pharmacology books available for use are significantly watered down versions of what is taught in a dental school.
THERE IS NO EDUCATIONAL EQUIVALENCY BETWEEN A DENTIST'S EDUCATION AND A HYGIENIST'S.
S1169/H2474 Both the MA Dental Hygienist Association and the MA Dental Hygienists PAC sponsor Rep Hogan's bill.
Here is the real 411:
For the past 35 years or so the MA Dental Hygienists have wanted to work independently from a dentist. This bill without mandates is a dream come true for dental hygienists.
For the last 35 years I have been one of the few dentists in MA who have supported the MA Dental Hygienists' desire to do dental hygiene tasks separately from a dentist's office. Now, in 2017, it is an even easier desire to support. With records, x-rays, models and questions/photos all easily shared electronically between a dentist's office and a dental hygiene's office.
If the MA Dental Hygienists want my support for such a bill I AM THERE. To try to get to that goal through a bill meant to help those in dental provider shortage areas or on medicaid is not being transparent.
I would ask hygienists to work with the POSSE to get Dental Therapists who WILL and MUST go to under servered areas. Who will spend 80% of their work year working with underserved populations. THEN I will work with hygienists to get routine dental hygiene separated from the dentist's office.
Dr Valentina Pasquantonio 10/16/2017
April 27, 2018:
Announced this week: there has been an agreement reached between the MA Dental Society, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the MA Senate and House that has resulted in legislation which would establish dental therapists. The legislation/bill has to be passed before July 31, 2018.
Under this legislation dental therapists would have to obtain a bachelors degree followed by Master's level training in dental therapeutics, have at least 50% of their patients be on Medicaid or be considered underserved and would only be able to preform surgical procedures under the direct supervision of a dentist.
OHP4C (formally the Dental Posse) is extremely pleased with this legislative compromise.
The only OHP4C consumer recommendation not fully in this bill: 50% rather than 80% of the underserved.
Thank-you to the MA Senate, House, and the Pew Charitable Trust for taking the time to understand the detriment to all consumers and especially the underserved consumers their original bill would have posed.
This post will stay up until July 31, 2018 (c) OHP4C.com 4/2018
Tell your family and friends about the OHP4C!.
Rival DENTAL THERAPIST BILLS in MA State Legislature
(H2474/S1169) and (H2820)
Incorporating the four points below Massachusetts will have a good bill to meet the oral health needs of the underserved citizens of the Commonwealth
OHP4C recommends that a final bill incorporate the following:
1. Education of the Dental Therapist should mirror that of a nurse practitioner: 4 year college degree (including a two year dental hygiene associate degree) and a masters degree in dental theraputics
2. Direct supervision by a dentist is not needed if education described in one (1) above is completed.
3. A dental therapist, by law, is mandated to work in under served areas of the Commonwealth 80% of his/her working hours per year or lose his/her license.
4. Allow dental therapists with advanced internships in extractions to extract teeth under the direct (via visual +audio electronic communication), off site, supervision of a dentist AND a signed prescription of a dentist.
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Late one evening Fred and Dr. Val
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NOTE: If you wish to read the letters written about this bill in the Stow Independent /fall of 2017, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org and type "dental therapist letters" in the subject line. The letters will be emailed to you.
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