Dental Therapists

Dental Therapist (DT)

On this page:
Dental Therapy Toolkit, 2017 (PDF)
Background
Definition
Education, training and certification
Scope of practice
Supervision
Billing and reimbursement
Toolkit Background Research
Resources


Background

In 2009, Minnesota became the first state government in the U.S. to authorize the licensing of dental therapists. Minnesota’s law created two levels of dental therapist practice – the Dental Therapist and the Advanced Dental Therapist – and required that these providers primarily serve low–income, uninsured and underserved patients, or practice in a dental Health Professional Shortage Area.

Dental Therapists and Advanced Dental Therapists play a key role in increasing access to dental care and preventing emergency room visits for dental–related problems.

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Definition

  • Dental Therapists (DTs) are mid–level practitioners licensed by the Board of Dentistry and members of an oral health care team. They provide evaluative, preventive, restorative and minor surgical dental care within their scope of practice. Dental Therapists (DT) work under the direction of a dentist.

  • Advanced Dental Therapists (ADT) are certified by the Board of Dentistry and, with their advanced training and clinical practice, are able to provide all the services that a Dental Therapist provides plus additional services such as oral evaluation and assessment, treatment plan formulation, non–surgical extraction of certain diseased teeth, and more. ADTs also practice under the supervision of a licensed dentist, but the dentist does not need to see the patient prior to them receiving care or be on site during a procedure.

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Education, training and certification

Minnesota Statute 150A.105 Subdivisions 2 and 3 defines specific educational, examination and practice requirements for licensed Dental Therapists and Advanced Dental Therapists.

As of January 2015, there are only two schools in Minnesota that offer the Dental Therapy curriculum:

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Scope of practice

Minnesota law defines specific practice requirements for dental therapists and advanced dental therapists. One distinctive provision is that, according to Minnesota Statutes Section 150A.105, Subdivisions 2 and 3, a DT or ADT is limited to practicing primarily in settings that serve low–income, uninsured and underserved patients, or in a dental Health Professional Shortage Area.

Additionally, the law defines specific services that a Dental Therapist and Advanced Dental Therapist can perform. The Minnesota Board of Dentistry's Dental Therapist page provides more information on this topic.

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Supervision

Dental Therapists and Advanced Dental Therapists work under the direction of a Minnesota licensed dentist through a collaborative management agreement (Minnesota Statutes Sections 150A.105 and 150A.106). The level of supervision varies in accordance with Minnesota Rule 3100.0100, Subpart 21.

Information about collaborative management agreements and guidelines for drafting a collaborative management agreement is available on the Board of Dentistry website.

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Billing and reimbursement

The Minnesota Department of Human Services Provider Manual provides information on enrollment and reimbursement for Dental Therapists and Advanced Dental Therapists serving Minnesota Health Care Program enrollees.

Questions regarding coverage, payment and reimbursement for clients enrolled in a managed care organization or commercial insurance carrier should be directed to those specific organizations.

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DT Toolkit

Background Research

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Resources

Articles

Partners and associated links

Helpful tools

Reports

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Contact for more information
Will Wilson
651-201-3842

 

Updated Thursday, November 09, 2017 at 09:58AM