Earlier this week, North Carolina Health News reported on Christy Jo Fogarty’s speech at the John Locke Foundation’s 2019 Dental Therapy Luncheon. Christy Jo Fogarty is the country’s first advanced dental therapist. The story highlights Fogarty’s story and her main points on how dental therapists can drastically increase care:

Once licensed, Fogarty went to work for Children’s Dental Services, a non-profit dental clinic with 200 sites and vans to help transport chairs and equipment to and from remote sites.

Forty-five minutes is all it takes to haul in the paraphernalia and get ready for patients. The therapists often set up at schools, community centers or hospitals and are there for several-day spans.

Fogarty touts her profession as one that extends oral health care to people and communities often underserved in part because many private practitioners have stopped taking Medicaid and public assistance patients, saying reimbursement rates caused them to lose money.

The story also noted that 10 states currently allow dental therapists to practice in their state. While this is technically true, our Jordan Roberts notes in his report on dental therapy that only four states currently have dental therapists practicing on the ground.

Roberts writes that this is because:

Once a state passes legislation to create a license for dental therapists, educational institutions must develop curriculum and seek accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Then, the educational institutions must recruit and train their first class of dental therapists, the timeline for which depends on the education and training requirements passed by the state. States that require dental therapists to hold a master’s degree will wait longer to see their dental therapy workforces grow than states like Alaska, where therapists need only to wait approximately two years before practicing.

Following the panelists remarks at the luncheon, attendees were given the floor for comments and questions. Among the audience were dentists, legislators, and more. The NCHN story reported on one of the luncheon’s attendants:

Read the full story here.

Dental therapy could be a viable way to expand dental care to the areas of North Carolina that need it most. Read more about how dental therapy could benefit the state here.