Wisconsin dentists push back on licensing dental therapists

Dentists

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Local Wisconsin dentists are challenging the state's effort to pass legislation to license dental therapists, according to NBC affiliate WJWF.

The Wisconsin Office of Rural Health estimates at least one county in Wisconsin needs more than 14 dentists to fix area shortages. Dental therapists are viewed as a strategy to combat dentist shortages.

Dental therapists can be licensed to fill cavities and provide other routine services at reduced costs. However, the Wisconsin Dental Association argues licensing dental therapists wouldn't solve access to care problems.

Other dentists don't think the lack of care is because of physical access to dentists. "It's not for a lack of dental staff and professionals, it's that connection between those wanting care and the professionals that we already have," said Laura Schindelholtz, DDS, to WJWF.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is trying to pass Senate Bill 89, which would license dental therapists while also allocating more reimbursement money for dentists who treat Medicaid patients. The bill has been referred to the state HHS committee.

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