• Vt. needs dental practitioners
    March 05,2014
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    Re: Senate Bill Imperils Dental Care (Feb. 23 op-ed)

    As a dental hygienist who has been practicing in Vermont for 14 years, I want to set the record straight about licensed dental practitioners and why we need them in Vermont.

    Our dental-care system is failing thousands of Vermonters who cannot get the dental care they need. LDPs are highly trained, mid-level providers who can help solve this problem.

    Like their counterparts in Alaska, Minnesota and dozens of countries, LDPs in Vermont would practice in community settings as part of a dentist-led team, providing preventive and routine care such as fillings and simple extractions, which involve an already mobile tooth with a hopeless prognosis. This type of extraction is not oral surgery.

    In Vermont, LDPs would complete a rigorous, four-year course of education. Once licensed, they would work under the general supervision of a dentist.

    This is a Vermont solution. In fact, the Vermont Health Department’s Office of Oral Health supports the LDP approach.

    The simple truth is that LDPs would provide high-quality, desperately needed oral health care to thousands of Vermonters and we need them — now.


    West Swanton
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