Dental Therapy Snapshot


A snapshot of oral health in MIchigan and why we need dental therapy


Improving Access



How dental therapists can improve access to care in Michigan

Dental Therapy Training


Details on training and education for dental therapists




Details about dental therapists' scope of practice


Dental Therapy as a Career Ladder


What dental therapy could mean for registered dental hygienists


From the Oral Health Workforce Research Center:


This infographic describes the status of dental therapy in the United States (US) and details the specific requirements in state laws and regulations that define dental therapy practice.

Dental therapists (DTs) are primary dental care practitioners that have been deployed in many countries around the world. Dental therapy was first implemented by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in 2005.1


There is increasingly strong evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of DTs, including their ability to promote community-based services and enhance oral health equity.2-4


Following the approval of education standards by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) in 2015, dental therapy gained increasing acceptance in the US with states and tribal nations authorizing dental therapy. Dental therapy is rapidly becoming an established, growing profession in the US, although there is variation in legal authority across states and jurisdictions.


Visit Authorization Status of Dental Therapists By State | Oral Health Workforce Research Center for more information.


Dental Therapy Employment Manual for                        Michigan Health Centers



This employment manual provides Michigan health centers with guidance about hiring, incorporating, working with dental therapists.



More Resources


Interviews from Oral Health Stakeholders in Michigan

May, 2015, Center for Health Workforce Studies, School of Public Health, University at Albany

A series of in-depth interviews with a wide variety of oral health stakeholders in the state to better understand gaps in oral health access as well as barriers to care.

Oral Health in Michigan

2015, Center for Health Workforce Studies, School of Public Health, University at Albany

Findings: major challenges in accessing and financing oral health care persist despite proactive efforts to address barriers to oral health services, such as expanding Healthy Kids Dental, reinstating adult Medicaid benefits and other local initiatives.

A Review of the Global Literature on Dental Therapists

April 2012, David Nash

A comprehensive review and summary detailing the use of dental therapy in other countries, to inform the decision to add dental therapy to the oral health workforce in the U.S.

Dental Therapy Helps Increase Revenue, Access to Oral Health Care

July 17, 2017, John Grant & Rebecca Singer Cohen

Two recent case studies show that the addition of dental therapists at two private, for-profit clinics in Minnesota helped increase access to oral health services for low-income and underserved residents while providing quality care and significantly increased cost-efficiency. In 2009, Minnesota approved legislation authorizing the statewide use of dental therapy. State dental therapists must work in practice settings that serve low-income and underserved people or in areas designated by the federal government as a "dental health professional shortage area" (DHPSA).


The case studies assessed the contribution of dental therapists at Midwest Dental and Grand Marais Family Dentistry. These two private, for-profit clinics are located in rural areas of Minneosta that are designated as DHPSAs. The results show that the clinics were able to serve more patients with public insurance after hiring dental therapists.

Dental Therapists Mean Better Outcomes for Alaska Native Communities, Study Finds

August 11, 2017, Jane Koppelman

Children and adults had lower rates of tooth extractions and more preventive care in Alaska Native communities served frequently by dental health aide therapists than residents in communities not receiving these services, according to a new study released by the University of Washington.


Led by Donald Chi, DDS, PhD, and funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rasmuson Foundation and the WK Kellogg Foundation, the study presents an analysis of patients in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) from 2006 to 2015. The YKHC, which is a part of the Alaska Tribal Health System, serves 25,000 Alaska Natives representing 58 federally recognized tribes.

An Advanced Dental Therapist in Rural Minnesota: Jodi Hager’s Case Study

2/14/18, Apple Tree Dental

In 2011, Apple Tree Dental began deploying an advanced dental therapist, as part of its care team at the Madelia Center for Dental Health, a dental clinic located within the Madelia Community Hospital and Clinic in rural southwestern Minnesota. In 2016, the population of Madelia was 2,239, and both the hospital and Apple Tree served patients from surrounding south-central rural counties.


This case study, covering the dental therapist's work from 2014 through 2016, provides an analysis of the productivity and cost effectiveness of an Advanced Dental Therapist (ADT) and the findings strongly suggest that other rural dental practices could benefit from adding dental therapists to their dental care teams.

Minnesota’s Dental Therapist Workforce

September, 2019, MN Office of Rural Health and Primary Care

A September 2019 report on Minnesota's dental therapy workforce from the Minnesota Department of Health

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