Minnesota dental school launches nation's 4th dental therapy program

Minnesota State University Mankato is filling the need for increased dental therapy training with the recent launch of its program, the fourth in the U.S.

The school launched the program in August, according to an Oct. 15 article by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a global public policy organization. Previously, there were two dental therapy programs in Minnesota and one in Alaska.

Minnesota is one of 13 states and tribal authorities that authorizes the practice of dental therapists, passing its legislation in 2009. Currently, about 12 states are considering legislation to authorize dental therapy.

Minnesota State University's program offers flexible scheduling for working students and grants dental hygienists credit for relevant dental education that allows them to become dental therapists faster. The school also provides students training with vulnerable and high-risk patients, such as those in rural and underserved communities.

The program is operating under approval from the Minnesota Board of Dentistry while awaiting national accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

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