Eight states, including neighboring Minnesota and Michigan, have authorized dental therapist programs statewide. Dental therapists are mid-level providers who perform preventive, restorative and intermediate restorative procedures.
Wisconsin should do the same. Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin children receive no dental care at all, and the state is dotted with areas where both children and adults suffer from a shortage of dentists.
In fact, Wisconsin has among the worst access and use rates of dental care for disadvantaged and underserved populations in the United States as well as disproportionately poor dental outcomes for disadvantaged populations.
Fortunately, dental therapy offers a simple, free-market solution that would fill many of these gaps.