The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), the sole group tasked by the U.S. Department of Education with accrediting dental education and dental-related programs, voted to accredit dental therapy education in the U.S. (Background on dental therapy)
Currently, dental therapists are approved and licensed to practice in Maine, Minnesota and Alaskan tribal communities, but their education programs are not accredited. Minnesota was the first state to license dental therapists (in 2011), and the University of Minnesota is the only dental school to educate dental therapists.
Each trip to the dentist helps spot and treat cavities, clean teeth, provide preventative treatments like sealants, and seek out signs of gum disease. But many don’t realize it is a cancer screening, too.
“A routine dental exam is vital for maintaining good oral health, and it’s also the best method for detecting oral cancer in its early stages,” says Mark Roettger, D.D.S., Clinic Director of the University of Minnesota Dental Clinic. “Dentists have the primary role in oral cancer detection because we work most closely with the mouth, and inspect it most thoroughly.”
The U.S. will lower nationwide recommendations for fluoride in tap water, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week. The pre-established range of 0.7-1.2 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water has been replaced with a national standard of 0.7 milligrams per liter.
When the U.S.-based Rwanda Human Resources for Health (HRH), was tasked with rebuilding Rwanda’s only dentistry school, leaders faced a dilemma.
Dental therapists had practiced in Rwanda for several years, but their education wasn’t viewed as quite up-to-standard. HRH wanted to improve the education of dental therapy students to provide higher quality care in a clinical setting. But they didn’t have any experience with dental therapy.