Archive for January, 2007

Denturist, Guest Speaker Ron Olson

January 27, 2007

DENTURISM IN MONTANA as I experienced it’s beginnings; by Ron Olson—————————————————- It was early in 1984 that I received a letter pertaining to an initiative being placed on the ballot in Montana called “Freedom of Choice in Denture Care.” We were living in Lewistown and we had a dental laboratory which was experiencing some “down trends” due to my recently raised prices which I was “forced” to lower. I attended the next scheduled meeting of these men and threw my hat in with them in March. I did not do a lot of traveling to acquire signatures for the initiative because we mainly used seniors at senior citizen centers in the smaller and more remote counties, and a lot of this was lined up and being done when I joined the men. The men involved were: Brent Kandarian-Kalispell, Lee Wiser-Livingston, Dave Comer-Great Falls, John Mateskon-Bozeman, Frank Stone-Butte, Frank Brisendine-Kalispell, Everett Vanden Eaton-Billings, Ron Olson-Lewistown, Rob Carnahan-Missoula, Cliff Christenott-Libby, Gary Vollan-Kalispell. In July we went to Pocatello, Idaho at the Idaho State College and took very concentrated & comprehensive classes by Dr. Ron Gerghety. We took additional weekend classes and some long distances courses as well. The bill was written primarily by Lee Wiser & Brent Kandarian and they also did the work in Helena at the capitol with legal affairs. Our attorney was Jim Bartlett from Kalispell. By August the Montana dentists got very vocal & nasty! The ADA gave the MDA an undesignated check for up to $l million and said, “Defeat this denturist bill in Montana.” Their strategy was to bring confusion in the minds of the public as well as a fear that denturism would ruin people’s health. Their advertising and articles were filled with lies. The dentists in Lewistown also put together their own strategy and came to me with a proposal if I would not become a denturist, but all of my respect for them was wasted and I could see right through them. For us, money was very slim and the future very uncertain. We prayed and trusted God for the outcome and to provide for our family of 4 teenagers. The night of the election will be forever in our minds as we called polling stations and called in numbers to our “headquarters.” When the TV stations signed off the air, they each said, “The denturist initiative is defeated.” In the morning, the papers said it passed by 51%, but as the absentee ballots were counted, the margin was higher. This was a very real miracle! In December we again went to Pocatello and took our license exam both written & practical. If we thought the stress of the initiative was difficult, we were in for only more struggles! We opened our doors to the public on December 1, but people were not eager to come to us. We lacked experience in every area of the business as well as confidence in our abilities. Insurance companies wouldn’t pay us, and the dentists got ready to attack in every way that they could and sent in patients to “frame us.” Every day was difficult and we needed support from family and wisdom from God. I realized we would not get enough business in Lewistown for me to become competent as a professional denturist, so I opened another small clinic in Billings in July 1985. I worked in Billings M-T-W, and I was open in Lewistown Th-F. I worked this way until July of 1988 and then was in Billings full time. Yes, it was a slow, rough start, but in many ways it was rewarding feeling we were real pioneers and forged some inroads for those who would follow. I served on the state Board of Dentistry being appointed by the governor as the denturist representative, and I served as the president of the Montana Denturist Association as well as president of the National Denturist Association. I also took the exam from the BIA in Oklahoma to have an Indian denturist license along with my son, Grant, who had a practice in Roosevelt County on a reservation. I have also been involved with the former Oregon Denturist College and George Brown College in Toronto. Today as I look back on this very accepted and worthy profession, my feelings are as they have always been. We need to do our very best for every patient. We must have a real desire to help people and find things that make people comfortable. I feel we should use the very best products and techniques available and be looking for ways to improve. Yes, education should excite us, and we should communicate and be united within our state, within our region, nationally and internationally. It does seem to me that too many of the denturists are mavericks and not professional enough. This concerns me greatly. I feel that these last 22 years for me have been a challenge and gratifying, but it really doesn’t matter about me. What I see now is that dentists and oral surgeons acknowledge and accept us as colleagues, and the general public are confident and respectful and complimentary every single day. Yes, the change is drastic, and we have come a long ways in Montana. For this to be a very accepted profession nationwide is imperative! Your friend and brother Denturist, Ron Olson ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ron Olson is a well respected denturist among his peers. He owned West Park Denture Clinic in Billings, Montana but is now semi-retired. His son Grant has taken over the clinical responsibility. Grant and I graduated from the Oregon Denturist College in 1992, and each of us holds our profession in standards as high as those of his father Ron Olson —- Gary W. Vollan

Denturist Wanted

January 22, 2007

WANTED: qualified, educated, denturist, for advocacy positions across the United States. Please contact Gary W. Vollan-licensed denturist at or in Wyoming at 307.568.2047 or contact one of the colleges or denturist organizations listed below.

Denturist make, place, construct, alter, reproduce, and/or repair dentures directly to the public. This includes; an oral exam recognizing healthy tissue, referral services, impressions, and adjustments.

Becoming a licensed denturist is not an easy task. Before obtaining a license, a candidate must pass comprehensive practical and written examinations. The written examination challenges candidates to show their clinical knowledge of oral health issues, including microbiology, physiology, oral pathology, head and neck anatomy and more. The practical examination requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to take oral impressions, design a denture from the impression, create a denture from the design, and fit the denture in the patient’s mouth so that it works well and is comfortable to wear.


Bates Technical College

George Brown College of Denturism

Denturist Advocacy Organizations

International Federation of Denturists

National Denturist Association

Oregon State Denturist Association

Washington Denturist Association

Wyoming State Denturist Association

Denturist HB163 Posted Today

January 10, 2007

I would like to commend Representative Lorraine Quarberg, for her grit in sponsoring HB163, along with Senators Charles Scott and Ray Peterson. This is the same denturist legislation sponsored by Representative Quarberg last session. The same legislation was endorsed by the Silver Haired Legislators, in September 2006.
The Denturist HB163, unlike the “Wyoming Denturism Act”, initiative, puts denturist on the dental board without a denturist vote, but at least it’s a foot in the door. I feel health care professions should have their own boards. If the Dental Hygienist profession had their own board and wasn’t in the white knuckled grasp of the dental board, preventive dentistry would take on a whole different meaning.
The Dental Hygienist profession would see a growth in their profession with two or more hygienist in each office. They would service far more people as far as cleanings, at a much younger age and for less money. Referrals to the dentist would be as needed. It would eliminate a number of unnecessary dental procedures and save health care dollars.
*please see Denturist HB163 at
Gary W. Vollan, of Basin, Wyoming, I’m a dad of ten children. As an advocate for the denturist profession, I have been in the dental profession since 1972.

Shall a law be enacted…….

January 2, 2007

“Wyoming Denturism Act” The Wyoming Coalition for Freedom of Choice in denture care
Shall a law be enacted… Which would allow denturists to make, place, and sell dentures directly to the public? The denturist would be regulated by a new state board of denturists. A denturist would be required to refer patients to a dentist or physician before making or fitting a denture if the denturist believes that there is any abnormality or disease in the mouth.

Fiscal Note: The fiscal impact cannot be determined, but it is expected that the proposed board would be funded by a series of license fees on denturists.

Statement For: This denturism initiative closely resembles measures that have been passed in Wyoming’s surrounding states. Since 1982 in Idaho, 1984 in Montana, and 1979 in Oregon, denturism has been proven to be an effective, safe, and affordable option for denture patients. Canada has recognized the profession of denturism for over 30 years. These states and countries have proven that a denturist is a competent and reliable alternative to a dentist for the provision of dentures. The Washington State Health Coordinating Council under the department of Social and Health Services in 1987 found that denturists posed no threat to the public’s health and that legislation on denturism should be enacted. Denturists are different than denture laboratory technicians. The denturism initiative does not include a “grandfather clause” and it calls for individuals who wish to become licensed Wyoming denturists to pass a written and practical board certified exam. This exam covers college level course topics such as: microbiology, oral pathology, gerontology, and partial denture construction and design. Licensed denturists will be highly qualified denture health care providers. Finally, the profession of denturism has proven to lower the costs of dentures due to increased competition in the provision of dentures to the general public. The denturist initiative simply provides the citizens of Wyoming with the FREEDOM OF CHOICE for their denture care. Upon passage of the denturism initiative, Wyoming’s people will finally receive the same options that their neighbors have received for decades.