Restructuring Dental Education to Facilitate Access to Oral Health Care
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Purpose of Review
To review recent literature evaluating how current models of dental education are contributing to reducing oral health disparities in the USA. Recent innovations in dental schools’ curricula and admissions processes will be examined, as well as how oral health disparities have driven the education and subsequent expansion of the allied dental workforce.
Dental school curricula and admissions changes have had minimal impact on reducing oral health disparities. Subsequently, educational innovations have resulted in the traditional duties of dentists being performed by dental therapists, advanced dental hygiene practitioners, and independent dental hygienists.
Public perception is that extended employment of allied dental professionals has resulted in improved access and delivery of dental care to underserved members of the population. Development of a diversified oral health workforce that provides team-based, inter-professional care will help decrease the oral health inequities that exist in the USA.
KeywordsAccess to care Oral health disparities Dental therapist Dental education
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance
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