Vermont has the oldest average age for dentists in the entire country. In fact, in less than eight years, a third of the dentists in Vermont will have retired.
One tool in the toolbox available to decision makers that would alleviate this problem is S.35, a bill that would call for the creation of licensed dental practitioners, or LDP’s. Similar to the role nurse practitioners play in medical settings, dental practitioners have been proven to expand access to quality and affordable care.
Minnesota, Alaska, and over 50 countries worldwide have been employing LDP’s to perform important dental services for years. For example, in rural areas these trained dental professionals can provide fillings for children in schools.
Passing S.35 will be a successful and safe step towards expanded access to dental care. Oral health is a cornerstone to the overall health of Vermonters. The path to affordable and accessible health care for all Vermonters must also include affordable dental coverage. Allowing for LDP’s in Vermont is an important step in that direction.