Archive for February, 2007

Wyoming Denturist HB163 Dies in Committee

February 6, 2007

On Friday, February 2, 2007

Wyoming Denturist HB163 Dies in Joint, Corporations, Elections, and Political Subdivisions Committee.

Braving Wyoming’s blizzard conditions, I traveled to Cheyenne, representing the denturist profession, in hopes of being present for the Committee’s discussion of Denturist HB163 and it moving from the committee to the full House. That hope soon turned to dismay as I saw the committee chairman look toward members of the Dental Board, and give a smirk followed by a smile. At that point, I knew that the outcome of Denturist HB163 had been preordained; HB163 was destined to fail.

In that moment, my idealism and honor of observing the legislative process was upheld by the Grit and Courage expressed by Representative Loraine Quarberg as she pleaded with Committee Chairman Pete Illoway to give it a chance to work; and turning to members of the Wyoming Dental Board, Representative Quarberg stated “I know, as professionals, they (the Dental Board) could put this together to make it work.”

Representative Quarberg and Representative Dan Zwonitzer were the yes votes. Dr. Paul Fanning, Secretary of the Dental Board, testified. While most of what he had to say was truthful, it was incomplete. He testified regarding Arizona denturist not renewing their denturist licenses. Most of the Denturists Licenses that elapsed during that time, however, were due to the retirement of said denturist.

Dr. Paul Fanning failed to tell the rest of the story, that the Arizona Dental Board approved the Bates denturist Program for licensed denturists. This information can be verified by calling Julie Chapho, executive director of the Arizona Dental Board.

The Fiscal note attached to HB163 stated that there was no accredited college for denturist in the United States. I presented documentation of Bates Technical College being accredited. Dr. Fanning then said that the Denturist program wasn’t accredited by the American Dental Association. Dr. Fanning knows that the ADA isn’t going to approve a denturist program, even if it were an eight year doctoral program, merely because it has the word Denturist in it.

He referred to Denturists as nothing more than glorified dental technicians with as little as two years of college education or less, in comparison to a dentist with six years, plus two years for specialty. Dr. Fanning failed to make the committee aware that, were a dentist doing nothing more than recognizing healthy tissue, fabricating and fitting dentures, then that two years would be more than sufficient. Dental Hygienist programs are two to four years depending on the school.

The scope of a Dentist’s practice is far greater than that of a denturist. Dentistry is a healing art, dealing with diagnosis and treatment of pathology, surgery, injections, extractions, tooth preparation, dispensing pharmaceuticals, and this list is too exhaustive to continue on. Denturism, however, is recognizing healthy tissues, referral services to dentists or medical doctors if unhealthy tissues are apparent, impressions, fabrication of the prosthesis, and any needed adjustments. A two year denturist program in an accredited college is plenty enough for Wyoming denturists, just as it is plenty for Arizona denturists; since Dr. Fanning is willing to compare the two, and since the Arizona Dental Board approved of a two year denturist program at Bates Technical College in Tacoma Washington.

Dr. Fanning, Secretary of the Wyoming Dental Board, concluded to the committee that the Denturist HB163 was a public health and safety issue. In different studies by other denturist regulated states, they have found no public health, or safety concern. In 1987, Washington State Health Coordinating Council under the department of Social and Health Services found that Denturists posed no threat to the public’s health and that legislation on denturism should be enacted. Personally I see as a public health issue, dental care being inaccessible to those in need, due to high prices, or ineligibility for Medicaid.

Due to the Injunction imposed upon me by the Wyoming Dental Board, I’ve been unable to provide the denturists service to those who I have served since 1992. Some of these patients have said that they will wait until I’m able to open up once more, however I merely tell them to see their dentists.

And, to our legislators who have shown the necessary backbone, grit, and common sense in the welfare of Wyoming’s populous, I would like to raise you up above the Self-important, Self-serving legislators, who would sacrifice the greater good for their own Self-interest. Your determination and steadfastness has been greatly appreciated.

Sincerely in His service
Gary W. Vollan- licensed denturist
Wyoming State Denturist Association
P.O. Box 332
Basin, Wyoming 82410