Dental Therapist (DT) and Advanced Dental Therapists (ADT)
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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.
- 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.
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:
- Metropolitan State University and Normandale Community College – Advanced Dental Therapy Program
- University of Minnesota School of Dentistry – Dental Therapy Program
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.
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.
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.
- Dental Therapist and Advanced Dental Therapist Provider Manual, 2016 (PDF)
- Dental Therapy Collaborative Management Agreement (PDF)
- Minnesota Dental Therapist Licensure Application Checklist (PDF)
- Advanced Dental Therapy Collaborative Management Agreement (PDF)
- Advanced Dental therapy Certification Application (PDF)
- Delegated Duties: Dental Therapists and Advanced Dental Therapists, 2010 (PDF)
- Minnesota State Laws containing references to licensing and regulatory requirements for Dental Therapists and Advanced Dental Therapists (PDF)
- Minnesota Statute 2015: 150A.105 Dental Therapist (PDF)
- Minnesota Statute 2015: 150A.106 Advanced Dental Therapist (PDF)
- Minnesota Statute 2015: 3100.1170 License to practice as a resident Dental Therapist or resident Dental Hygienist (PDF)
- Minnesota Statute 2015: 3100.3600 Administration of general anesthesia, deep sedation, moderate sedation, minimal sedation, and nitrous oxide inhalation analgesia (PDF)
- Minnesota Statute 3100.9600: Record keeping (PDF)
- Literature Review, 2016 (PDF)
- Review of Existing Toolkits, 2016 (PDF)
- Environmental Scan, 2016 (PDF)
- Dental Therapist and Advanced Dental Therapist Interviews, 2016 (PDF)
- Current Employer Interviews, 2016 (PDF)
- Potential Employer Interviews, 2016 (PDF)
- Lessons Learned, 2016 (PDF)
- Summary of Health Reform Models, 2016 (PDF)
- Summary of Dental Therapy Regulatory and Payment Processes, 2016 (PDF)
- Dental Therapy: Evolving in Minnesota’s Safety Net, American Journal of Public Health, June 2014, Vol. 104, No. 6
Partners and Associated Links
- Minnesota Board of Dentistry
- Metropolitan State University Advanced Dental Therapy Program
- Minnesota Dental Therapist Association
- Delta Dental of Minnesota
- Health Partners Center for Oral Health Research
- Expanding the Dental Team – Increasing Access to Care in Public Settings, PEW Charitable Trusts, June 2014