Nevada lawmakers seek to license dental therapists

A bill is making its way through the Nevada senate that would allow dental therapists to practice throughout the state, according to local news station KUNR.

In Nevada, all counties are challenged with dental health professional shortages, KUNR reports.

"We have dentists and we have dental hygienists. And, so what the dental therapist does is it creates that mid-level provider," state Sen. Julia Ratti told KUNR. "And, so it will create more affordable and more accessible healthcare and really address a significant problem that we have in Nevada, which is a shortage of dental health providers."

The Nevada Dental Hygienists' Association sponsored the bill. The Nevada Dental Association has expressed its disapproval. Other dentists in the state have also come out against the bill.

Dental therapists are trained to perform routine and preventative services, including filling cavities, extracting damaged teeth and prescribing antibiotics. To become a dental therapist, dental hygienists must complete two years of study at an accredited program.

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