In 2013, the Maine Legislature took on what seemed like an innocuous workforce growth and health treatment accessibility bill. L.D. 1230, An Act to Improve Accessibility to Oral Wellness Care, was sponsored by then-Household Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, and was co-sponsored by then-Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting. The two associates were much apart on quite a few concerns but ended up united in making certain that both of those rural and urban Maine had obtain to excellent dental care.
This invoice made a route for dental hygienists to continue to mature in their profession and pursue the essential education and learning to come to be dental therapists, who are mid-degree companies who function a bigger scope of practice permitting additional individuals to get treatment. At that time, dental therapists had been sanctioned only by two other states: Alaska and Minnesota. Equally states have rural and underserved populations who had really reduced entry to dental treatment – equivalent to Maine.
Both states had opened universities that were accepted by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and had observed fantastic achievements in their capability to go into these populations and offer care that normally would have been unattainable for so quite a few good reasons. Dental therapists had verified in these two states that the dental therapy product was a good results and could access the underserved populations who it was intended to arrive at.
To my dismay, several of my fellow dentists did not see this as a beneficial stage forward for dentistry and health and fitness care in Maine. In simple fact, there were articles or blog posts at the time that talked of more than 100 dentists coming to Augusta to wring their arms in front of the Labor, Commerce, Investigation and Economic Progress Committee and participate in their best “Chicken Small.” To their dismay, the invoice passed around their objections and was signed into legislation by then-Gov. Paul LePage. A exceptional bipartisan victory for Maine individuals.
Quickly forward to 2023 and this bipartisan wellness care get has been gathering dust in the legislation guides of the state of Maine. Although Mainers proceed to battle to obtain care in Maine’s rural areas, a single might talk to: Why have we not viewed an inflow of dental therapists?
Though we have fantastic obtain to dental hygienists here in Maine by way of our training technique, we do not have the amount of coaching in between hygienist and dentist. The reply is very simple: We do not have a dental remedy school. As the proprietor of Maine Dentistry, I am proud to be surrounded by outstanding experts who get the job done every single working day to enhance their capabilities for them selves and their patients. Numerous of the hygienists who work for me would really like to turn out to be dental therapists, but it simply isn’t in the cards to pack up their household and move to Minnesota or Alaska for two yrs to comprehensive the needed education. It is time for us to put our cash exactly where our mouth is (pun intended) and open a dental remedy school.
This year, Rep. Anne-Marie Mastracchio, D-Sanford, sponsored L.D. 1026, a bill that would direct the College of Maine Program to establish a dental treatment diploma plan, the suitable stage in opening a university below in Maine. The Legislature amended this legislation into a research to determine the feasibility of a dental remedy faculty. Just a couple months in the past, the Legislature passed and Gov. Mills signed L.D. 1026 into law. While my colleagues stood in solid opposition 10 several years in the past, I, as properly as quite a few other dentists, stand completely ready to assistance this plan and assure that we set our clients and our personnel to start with by bringing a dental therapy university to Maine.