April 5, 2017

Mass. dentists call for higher standards

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Dental Society
Dr. David Lustbader said mid-level dental practitioners must have the highest level of training, education and supervision.

Survey results released by the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) on Wednesday found that 97 percent of roughly 400 Massachusetts dentists favor a high level of credentialing standards for mid-level dental professionals in the Bay State.

The finding comes as lawmakers examine proposed bills by the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) and backers of a national campaign designed to expand dental treatment access. The dentists have called for requiring education and training for mid-level providers that is similar to that of nurse practitioners or physician assistants, while proponents of a Pew Charitable Trusts-backed bill support lower educational requirements. Read more about the dueling bills in the latest issue of Central Massachusetts Health.

Dentists also reported that nearly one in four patients in Massachusetts requires care for advanced or complex dental needs, and Dr. David Lustbader, president of the MDS, said this supports the view that mid-level professionals "must be required to have the highest possible level of training, education and supervision."

The Pew-backed bill would allow for remote supervision of mid-level providers by dentists, while the MDS bill requires on-site supervision.

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