Dental therapy benefits many different groups, which is why it attracts such a wide range of support from various sectors — Tribal governments, community groups and non-profits, consumer advocates, labor unions, hospitals, community health centers, dental insurance companies, dental hygiene associations, educational institutions, free-market think tanks, dentists, and others. These groups have a variety of social, economic, and ideological reasons for supporting dental therapy, but they all come together to advocate for this evidence-based policy.

Done well, dental therapy programs help address a fundamental issue for communities that have had to overcome significant barriers to access to basic oral health care: Trust. A clean policy, based on evidence and informed by the trailblazing dental therapy education program in Alaska, ensures educational opportunities and jobs are accessible to communities where needs are the greatest. Building a dental workforce of local providers who are culturally and linguistically tied to the communities where they live and work is changing communities’ relationship with oral health care from the inside out.