Nevada Senate seeks to license dental therapists

A new bill in Nevada, Senate Bill 366, would allow dental hygienists to undergo additional education and training to become dental therapists and perform a limited number of dental procedures, according to local ABC affiliate KOLO.

Currently in Nevada, dental therapists are not allowed to operate on patients. The new bill would require potential dental therapists to first be dental hygienists. After three years of additional schooling, the hygienists would be able to perform procedures as a dental therapist.

The total schooling comes to seven years, one fewer than a dentist.

Some dentists are not in support of the bill, which aims to bring more access to care to rural areas. These dentists claim that their objections surround patient safety not access.

"We are trained at the highest standard to ensure that patient safety, so we go ahead and say, do the citizens of Nevada deserve anything less not to mention the poorest of the poor — do our poor children deserve anything less than folks that care pay with normal insurance," local dentist David White, DDS, told KOLO.

State lawmakers held a work session for the bill April 10.

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