We have an oral health crisis in our country.
Nearly a third of people in the U.S. are unable to get the dental care they need including a significant percentage of our nation’s children and seniors. It can be debilitating and have long-lasting health impacts. Untreated tooth decay affects peoples’ ability to eat, go to school or work and can lead to life-threatening infections.
Today, dental therapists are delivering oral health care to thousands of people in the United States who otherwise would not be able to receive it. Dental therapists are improving access to preventive and early dental care, as well as oral health education, resulting in fewer people needing more costly, invasive treatment.
But not everyone has the opportunity to see a dental therapist – currently, they only practice in certain states. Across the country, community leaders, consumer advocates, educators, dentists, dental hygienists and public health champions are actively working to change that. Everyone, including the most vulnerable, in our country should have the opportunity to receive basic oral health care, especially when there are realistic options available.
Yet, close to 50 million people are unable to receive dental care in the communities in which they live.