The Dental Access Bill, Senate Bill 5465, had a public hearing in the Senate Health Care Committee on Monday, January 25, with members of the Washington Dental Access Campaign (WDAC)—representing the interests of children, elders, rural constituents, dental professionals and advocates for low-income people and communities of color—signing in PRO. Here are a few highlights from the testimony:
Dr. Kevin Nakagaki, DDS, has worked with dental therapists since they were first licensed to practice in Minnesota in 2011.
“Patients are very accepting of the Dental Therapist, as they are very familiar with the medical model of physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
“In my clinic, after hiring dental therapists, access for my population has increased, and the wait time to be seen has decreased by half. As I have shifted the straightforward dental restorations to the dental therapist, it has freed up my time to concentrate on more complex procedures.
“The dental therapists are very well trained to manage the pediatric population, and the patients (and parents) have been very satisfied-extremely satisfied with their care.
“As the dentists have had the opportunity to work with the therapists, they have found the concept safe, workable, desirable, and have begun requesting new hires for their offices.”
—Dr. Kevin Nakagaki, DDS, Minneapolis