April 13, 2021

Guest opinion: Dental therapists can increase access to dental care [News Press]

Sal Nuzzo and Sadaf Knight write:

"Floridians are currently facing a serious healthcare access crisis. Regular dental visits and proper dental hygiene are essential to the health and well-being of Floridians. Poor dental health profoundly impacts Florida students’ ability to learn and Florida workers’ ability to provide for their families. Despite the importance of dental health, one in four Floridians doesn’t have access to a provider. Fortunately, Florida lawmakers with their eyes on solving problems have a valuable policy reform available to them — enable dental therapy.

Senator Jeff Brandes has proposed a measure that would mean thousands of Floridians could get access to care — by enabling and bringing the proven concept of dental therapy to Florida. It’s past time for the Legislature make it happen.

The James Madison Institute and Florida Policy Institute don’t always agree on policy proposals [emphasis added]. Dental therapy is different. The core of the challenge is getting patients desperately in need of oral care into a chair with a qualified professional that can address their needs. We agree that establishing a career track in Florida for qualified mid-level practitioners is a commonsense solution to solve Florida’s dental health crisis.  

It should not come as a big surprise that both our organizations back dental therapy. That’s because enabling dental therapy in Florida will increase access to essential dental care for all Floridians, and it will cut the overall costs of dental care, some of which is paid by taxpayers."


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