Tag Archives: American Dental Association

Editorial: No reason to artificially constrain supply of dental practitioners

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Blog photo credit: Photo by U.S. Pacific Fleet via Flickr

Photo by U.S. Pacific Fleet via Flickr

In a recent editorial, The Washington Post endorsed the licensing of dental therapists to expand care to millions of Americans who lack it.

“Everyone seems to agree that there is a dental crisis in the United States, particularly among people in poor and rural areas. People who have dental insurance or the means to pay out of pocket can get a high level of care. Those without struggle,” wrote members of the newspaper’s editorial board in the July 14 piece.

In building their case, the Post editors harked back to the 2007 death of Deamonte Driver, a child on Maryland’s Medicaid program who died after his abscessed tooth went untreated. (I covered his story when I worked at the Post).

While Maryland has made some progress in getting more dental care to underserved people, including Medicaid patients, the Post editors noted “the situation across the country has not dramatically improved.” Continue reading