Pew Study Strongly Suggests New Dental Providers Can Boost Office Profits

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According to a new report from the Pew Center on the States, dentists in private practice can maintain and even improve their bottom line by hiring non-conventional dental providers like dental therapists. This is great news for underserved communities–especially children.

From Dentistry iQ:

Most private-practice dentists who hire new types of dental providers can serve more patients, including more Medicaid enrollees, while maintaining or improving their financial bottom line, according to a new report from the Pew Center on the States. New types of providers play a role in delivering dental care similar to that performed by nurse practitioners in the medical system.

Pew’s report is the first to examine the impact that hiring new types of providers — dental therapists and hygienist-therapists — would have on the productivity and profits of a private dental practice, where more than 90 percent of the nation’s dentists work. The study also assesses the impact of dental hygienists, who are currently employed by most dental practices. Dental therapists and hygienist-therapists are trained to perform a broader range of services — including filling cavities — than hygienists.

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“This report is good news for dentists who work in private practices, patients who aren’t getting care and policy makers who are eager to find cost-effective solutions to access problems,” said Shelly Gehshan, director of the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign.

Nationwide, 17 million low-income children go without dental care each year. Multiple factors fuel this problem, including a shortage of dentists serving rural and poor communities. As a number of states consider authorizing new types of dental providers to fill this unmet need, dentists in private practice are looking at the effects of this potential change on their businesses.

Read the whole story here.

 –Dennis Pacheco

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