“The authorization of dental therapists is a proven way to make a meaningful difference to the millions of Americans currently without access to dental disease prevention or treatment services,” says Caswell Evans, D.D.S., M.P.H., associate dean emeritus of Prevention and Public Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry and a founding member of the National Coalition of Dentists for Health Equity. “The movement is spreading rapidly across the country and the growing body of evidence clearly demonstrates that it’s working. Because of dental therapists, public, private and nonprofit practices are better equipped to provide appropriate care to those in need.”
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation shares more about the legacy, history and importance of this movement with its e-book, “For Want of a Dentist: The Rise of the Dental Therapy Movement in Tribal Nations and the U.S., Lessons from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation,” written by Wendell Potter.
Dental therapy is a proven community-based solution that ensures all children and families in America have access to oral health care, parents have access to professional wage jobs and communities improve population health. Since 2006, WKKF has supported Tribal and non-Native communities coming together to highlight the need for dental therapists.
The book details the history of dental therapy, including how Tribal sovereignty advanced dental health across the U.S. It also links the establishment of national standards with accelerated state expansion and reinforces new narratives rooted in racial equity, access and opportunity to ensure the health and well-being of children, families and communities.