On December 26, Michigan became the eighth state, and the second in 2018, to authorize dental therapists when Governor Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 541 into law.

This is a big win for people in Michigan, especially those that can’t get the dental care they need.

Nationwide, communities with dental therapists are reporting a greatly improved experience with oral health care. While dental therapists easily fit into traditional dental office settings, their biggest impact has been expanding access to routine care in communities where there aren’t enough dentists, decreasing more costly and invasive care and increasing access to preventive services for kids and adults.

 />Beyond Michigan, this is significant for dental therapy policy because it represents yet another instance of state legislators standing up for their communities in the face of the powerful dental lobby. As it has time and again, the <a href=dental lobby attempted to block this community-led effort, but kudos to Michigan lawmakers for seeing through the special interests and casting their votes in support of one of the strongest dental therapy bills in the country.  

Congratulations to the Michigan dental therapy coalition for their great work. Convened by the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health, the group was supported by a broad delegation of consumer groups and oral health leaders including AARP, the ARC and the primary care association, to name a few.  

This year marks the 15th anniversary since dental therapists started working in some of the most severe dental shortage areas in the country, demonstrating if dental therapy can work there, it can work anywhere. In 2019, we look forward to honoring the great work dental therapist teams have accomplished to date and helping communities across the country in continued efforts to advance oral health justice.

Photo courtesy of The Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health (MCMCH).