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CODA standards set for Dental Therapists

From Dental Products Report:

Dental therapists are licensed oral health care professionals who practice as part of a dental team, providing educational, clinical and therapeutic patient services. They are mid-level providers, similar to nurse practitioners on a medical team.

Source: CODA standards provide uniformity, legitimacy to dental therapy | Dental Products Report

One of the best ways to lower the cost of medicine and dentistry is to replace high priced professionals with mid-level practitioners. In that way the highly educated doctor can be called in for complex cases that need a high level of expertise and basic care can be provided by less expensive therapists.

Technology plays a role in this change.  The ability to use expert systems to create a preliminary diagnosis or instantaneous communications to discuss a case make mid-level care more efficient.

Of course lowering costs is a desirable outcome only if quality is maintained with acceptable results. As a rule dentists and physicians see this as an intrusion on their professional fields and often try and stop these new types of practitioners from being allowed to work on patients. Determining what treatments a therapist can do, what levels of education, licensing and supervision are required will continue to be an issue. However these new guidelines are start.

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