said Yazdan. “More people are becoming educated about the importance of oral health. However, people today are so worried that they may not have enough discretionary income to pay for needed dental bills because their insurance doesn’t really cover anything anymore, so they do not want to or have the funds for dentistry like they used to.”
As a result, there are still many people who don’t see their dentists for routine exams and care. One recent survey from Delta Dental indicated that 41% of Americans would like to see their dentist more often. But many people who ignore minor infections, pain, and other issues often see those problems get much worse before finally making an appointment or, worse, visiting their local emergency room for care. Of course, dentists want to change this mindset dental handpiece.
“The scope of dentistry has changed to more of a needs-based situation that caters to the immediate pain or emergency,” said Yazdan. “We have tried to take this and turn it into a preventive approach to avoid the pain, emergency, loss of teeth, and infection that comes along with real neglect. We are on a mission to educate patients and give them the tools to get and keep their teeth and gums health so that in the long run they spend less money and save their teeth.”
“The need for dental treatment is pervasive. One half of the population in the United States does not seek regular dental treatment,” said Craig S. Kohler, DDS, MBA, who has been practicing in Chicago for more than 30 years dental scaling machine. “It is a very personal health experience that takes careful diagnostic abilities and technical expertise. There will always be a demand for the competent, caring professional that helps people through some of the difficult health moments of their lives.”
In the years ahead, though, the person providing that care may have some different training. Today’s typical practice is staffed by dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants. But some states are now considering mid-level providers often known as dental therapists who would be allowed to perform procedures such as restorations and extractions themselves under the supervision of a licensed dentist. These proposals have drawn both controversy and concern.
“I’m optimistic about dentistry yet somewhat pessimistic about the future of dental care delivery,” said Gigi Meinecke, DMD, a private practitioner in Potomac, Md. “The practice of dentistry is and will likely continue to be exciting due to innovation and technology advances. However, if legislators and others outside the dental industry continue to push for changes to the classic model of the dentist-led team, in my opinion, the quality we’ve come to know and expect from dentistry will change, and as a result the career path will be less desirable.”
Maine, Minnesota, and Vermont all allow mid-level dental providers, while Washington and Oregon have authorized access to mid-level dental providers for native tribes while considering their use statewide. Alaska native tribes also have authorized dental therapy. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Texas are exploring dental therapy’s authorization.
The ADA opposes the authorization of non-dentists to perform surgical procedures. While the organization acknowledges challenges in providing dental care to everyone, it notes that the number of dentists practicing per 100,000 people has climbed more than 4% from 2003 to 2013 and expects that number to increase 1.5% from 2013 to 2018 and 2.6% by 2033. The ADA, then, believes there are enough dentists to meet the nation’s needs, and efforts should focus on connecting patients to available resources. But insurance companies may have their say, too.
“Presently, I don’t see insurance affecting the dentist-led team. But if legislators are successful in creating a mid-level provider, it’s nearly guaranteed that insurance companies will prefer reimbursing at a much lower level to a provider with less education. This could create a system where a licensed dentist sits at a computer reviewing treatment plans all day, possibly not even in the dental office, never interacting with patients, while a mid-level provider with less education performs the procedures,” Meinecke said. implant machine