Unpublished Research Paper
Objectives: The disparities in access to dental care experienced by children of underserved families have been documented. Despite being largely preventable, oral diseases are highly prevalent. Around 3.5 billion people worldwide live with dental conditions.These conditions are associated with lower academics and missed school days among children. Dental therapy has a long history and is seen in multiple countries. Comparatively, dental therapy is in the early stages of implementation in the United States. Minnesota is the most diverse state to recognize dental therapists to practice in various settings. Commentary showcasing how a dental therapist works in a school-based setting while addressing the needs of children with dental disease, pain, and lack of access to dental care is provided.
Method: Data were collected from participants without intervention through an anonymous Qualtrics® online survey. The collected data were analyzed to establish the level of support by school nurses based on the need seen in school children providing dental services by the Advanced Dental Therapist (ADT).
Results: Survey results indicate that more than ninety percent of the school nurses agree that students are likely to miss school due to oral pain. Having a dental therapist position in schools will help increase access to dental care for students who do not have access to it.
Conclusion: Utilizing an ADT in this role has been proven in some MN schools. Continued advocacy for kids is desperately needed to eliminate dental pain throughout our country, and ADTs can play an essential role in this.
Masih, S., & Degner, C. A. (2023). Attitude of school-based nurses towards incorporating advanced dental therapist in school settings: Increasing access to care [Unpublished manuscript]. Department of Dental Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato.