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The Reform That Can Increase Dental Access and Affordability in Arizona

September 1, 2017
By Naomi Lopez Bauman and John Davidson

This study, written by Goldwater Institute director of health care policy Naomi Lopez Bauman, explains what dental therapy licensure is and how it would benefit Arizona residents.

stethoscope and insurance docs

This study, written by Goldwater Institute director of health care policy Naomi Lopez Bauman, explains what dental therapy licensure is and how it would benefit Arizona residents.

Dental therapists perform many routine services for patients, Lopez Bauman writes.

“In response to a need for improved dental access and affordability, multiple states, as well as more than 50 countries around the world, license midlevel dental practitioners, called dental therapists, who can carry out routine dental procedures,” Lopez Bauman wrote. “In Arizona, a dentist is allowed, according to their license, to perform about 434 procedures. In Arizona, dental therapists would be able to perform approximately 80 procedures.”

Arizona’s laws need to be updated to include dental therapists, Lopez Bauman writes.

“Too often, our state laws protect the special interests of medical professionals rather than the interests of the public,” Lopez Bauman wrote. “The result is high prices and a lack of access to health care services. Arizona needs to begin putting patients frst so that every Arizonan, especially the most vulnerable, can have access to the care they need. Arizona lawmakers can, and should, free the state from its outdated, restrictive and protectionist scope of practice laws and allow dental therapists to be part of the solution to Arizona’s ongoing oral health care access problem.”