Oral Health Care for Children in Countries Using Dental Therapists in Public, School-Based Programs, Contrasted with that of the United States, Using Dentists in a Private Practice Model


The United States faces a significant problem with access to oral health care, particularly for children. More than 50 countries have developed an alternative dental provider, a dental therapist, practicing in public, school-based programs, to address children's access to care. This delivery model has been demonstrated to improve access to care and oral health outcomes while providing quality care economically. We summarize elements of a recent major review of the global literature on the use of dental therapists, "A Review of the Global Literature on Dental Therapists: In the Context of the Movement to Add Dental Therapists to the Oral Health Workforce in the United States." We contrast the success of a school-based model of caring for children by dental therapists with that of the US model of dentists providing care for children in private practices.

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Published in American Journal of Public Health, v. 103, no. 9, p. e7-e13.

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