Organizations push for Florida to authorize dental therapists

More than 140 organizations and individuals are lobbying the Florida Legislature to pass two bills that would authorize dental therapists in the state.

HB 1173, which has already passed two committees, and SB 1254 would allow dental therapists to operate as oral health providers, according to a Feb. 7 news release from American Children's Campaign, a Florida-based children's advocacy group. 

Authorizing dental therapists would expand access to oral healthcare in the state, the bills' proponents say. Florida was recently ranked in the bottom 10 on a list of the best states for dental health.

If passed, Florida would become the 15th state to authorize dental therapists. Wisconsin recently passed a package of bills that permitted dental therapists to practice in the state.

The two bills were brought to the Florida Legislature by Floridians for Dental Access, American Children's Campaign and Florida Dental Hygienist Association, the release said.

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