Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Pass the Dental Access Bill: House Bill 1364 / Senate Bill 5224

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Dental therapists can make dental care accessible.

Dental therapists work as part of the dental team to provide routine and preventive care.

Dental therapists can provide care to underserved kids and families in rural, low-income, and tribal communities and communities of color across Washington. They can also bring care to more kids and parents covered by Apple Health, and to those who are uninsured.

Children in Washington need dental therapists.

Thirty-four of Washington’s 39 counties don’t have enough dental professionals to meet people’s needs. Hundreds of thousands of Washington children receive zero dental care each year. Children of color and kids in low-income households have the highest rates of decay and the worst access to care.

In addition to being painful, lack of timely care causes kids to miss school and parents to miss work. Untreated oral health problems in childhood can have lifelong impacts.

Dental therapists do the following:

Provide care in the community. Dental therapists can work in schools, community centers, and other locations that are closer to home.

Help our communities save money. Dental therapists generate more money for clinics. By providing routine care, they free up dentists to do more high-level procedures. This preventive care also saves states money by helping avoid costly emergency room visits.

Boost community job opportunities. Allowing dental therapists to practice in Washington will create jobs in the dental industry and beyond.

Our kids can’t wait. Bring dental access to Washington now! Pass HB 1364/SB 5224.

Download a copy of this brief (PDF).