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Health
Study cites benefits in dental health for Alaska Native villages


A two-year study of dental therapists found improvements in care in rural Alaska Native villages.

Most villages lack a full-time or part-time dentist. So therapists are able to provide safe and competent care, according to the report.

"The dental therapists we observed in Alaska are performing well and operating safely within their scope of practice," Scott Wetterhall, M.D., M.P.H., RTI's principal investigator and lead author of the evaluation report, said in a press release. "Village residents appreciate being able to have dental problems addressed more quickly."

The dental therapist program has been controversial in Alaska. Native leaders support it but the American Dental Association has said it subjects village residents to substandard care.

Get the Story:
Village dental health improves (AP 10/26)
Rural Alaska oral health pilot program lauded (The Alaska Dispatch 10/27)
Press Release: New Study Finds Alaska Dental Therapists Provide Safe, Competent and Appropriate Care (WK Kellogg Foundation 10/26)
Press Release: Research Shows Dental Health Aide Therapists Provide Safe Care to Rural Alaskan Populations (RTI International 10/26)