Colorado will soon begin licensing dental therapists, but can it support them?

A new law in Colorado will allow the state to begin licensing dental therapists, but a lack of training and resources could hinder the state's ability to bring enough in, The Colorado Sun reported March 10.

The state passed a law in 2022 authorizing dental therapists to practice in the state to improve oral health among residents. Once it goes into effect May 1, licenses will be granted to those who have earned dental therapy degrees, have practiced as a dental therapist in the military or are licensed in the 13 states where dental therapists are legal. 

However, no schools in the state currently offer dental therapy degrees and the state does not offer a licensing exam. Trainees must receive their education in states with dental therapy programs, which only include Alaska, Minnesota and Washington.

Colleen Lampron, president of AFL Enterprises, a public health contracting company, told the news organization it is unclear whether the state has enough funding to launch its own programs because current programs are already underfunded. 

Healthier Colorado, a health advocacy nonprofit, hopes to partner with dental organizations to create an educational program in the state and find funding to support it, the news organization reported.

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