Newly created dental position proposed for underserved communities

by Emma Carew

The dental field has joined other health care professions in creating a mid-level position, according to a MinnPost article Monday.


The oral health practitioner would be a mid-level dental care position, between dental hygienist and dentist, similar to a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner. The new position would allow licensed practitioners to pull teeth and fill cavities in addition to performing cleanings and soft tissue work.


Touted as an increased care solution for areas with only one dentist or with no dental practices, practitioners could perform the level of most routine care, and would refer patients to specialists if further work was needed.


A "scope of practice" bill to define the parameters will be introduced to the Legislature this session. Both the University of Minnesota and Metro State have created programs to train students for the new position, and are scheduled to begin enrollment this fall.


For more information on the oral health practitioner position, pick up next week’s Minnesota Daily.