Alaska Dental Therapist Program

Alaska Dental Therapist Program

Dental therapists practicing in Alaska typically provide safe, competent, and appropriate dental care to underserved populations in the state, a new report from RTI International finds. Funded by the W.K. Kellogg, Rasmuson, and Bethel Community Services foundations, the report, Evaluation of the Dental Health Aide Therapist Workforce Model in Alaska (97 pages, PDF), assessed the work of dental therapists in five Alaskan communities, the experience of patients, and how well therapists performed on hundreds of procedures and found that the great majority of dental therapists in the state are technically competent to perform procedures within their scope of work and are doing so safely and appropriately. According to the report, they also are helping to relieve pain suffered by people who previously had to wait months or travel hours to seek treatment, and they are well-received in tribal villages.