The "Wyoming Denturism Act", Freedom of Choice in Denture Care, and Denture Patient Bill of Rights

Newspaper writer for Casper Star-Tribune, Joan Barron’s February 25th 2007 article: Teeth as a Job Issue gave us information regarding the work Senator Cale Case has done to serve the people of Wyoming.
March 24, 2007

Hurrah to Senator Case, for addressing the dental needs of the Wyoming people. Dental care is becoming inaccessible and unaffordable to those that are on fixed or low incomes. The low income clinic in Casper needs funding, and the Department of Health Denture Program for senior citizens, has a year long waiting list. This is also due to a lack of funding.

There is a shortage of dentists in Wyoming. However, regulating denturism as a licensed profession in Wyoming, via the “Wyoming Denturism Act” initiative will compensate for the shortage of dentists by freeing up chairtime that could be used for the children and drastically reducing the Health Department waiting lists by giving senior citizens and those living on limited incomes direct access to affordable denture care. This allows low income dental clinics to focus on emergency dental needs, rather than denture needs which would be seen by area denturists.

The “Wyoming Denturism Act” initiative requires the signatures of thirty-five thousand registered Wyoming voters to make it on the November 08 general election ballot where it can be considered by the Wyoming voters for Freedom of Choice in denture care.

Denturists are denture specialists who are trained and educated in sciences, clinical skills, and interpersonal skills that provide affordable denture care. They have the skills and knowledge necessary to provide a removable oral prosthesis service directly to the community that cost up to 50% less than what the dentist charges for the same denture service.

The ADA, American Dental Association and state dental associations, continue to pump money and time toward discrediting denturist and the denturist profession with scare tactics used in other states that now regulate denturist. The “Wyoming Denturism Act”, is the people’s initiative for Freedom of Choice in denture care, giving the Wyoming people the same options that our neighbors, Montana and Idaho have received for decades. Like Idaho and Montana and five other states where denturism is regulated, dentists and denturists learned to cooperate in a concerted effort to provide patients with better service through mutual referral services to one another.

Through the current denture delivery system, seniors and others with disabilities often face economic and unavailability barriers to obtain dentures or denture related services. According to a January 2002 article in the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, “Will there be a need for complete dentures in the United States in 2020?” The adult population in need of 1 or 2 complete dentures will increase from 33.6 million to 37.9 million adults in 2020.

Even though the percentage of the adult population who are edentulous, meaning they have lost all of their permanent teeth, is declining by 10% every decade. This decrease is offset by the significant increase of senior citizens, in whom edentulism occurs the most often, that is, in low income senior citizens. In a 1999 study conducted by the National Oral Health Surveillance System, (NOHSS), it was estimated that nearly 25% of the American adults over 65 are completely edentulous, due to cavities and gum disease. In order to lead a fuller, happier life, these people will need a denture service of some kind. However, many patients who have received denture services have either one or several dentures that are ill-functioning.

To help prevent this, a patient bill of rights should include rights for the denture patient as well, offering a 30 day money back guarantee if the denture patient isn’t satisfied with the denture service provided by the dentist or denturist. This should help with the multiple denture sets that people haven’t been able to wear due to ill-functioning dentures, and inaccessibility to services, due to time or charges, to acquire denture adjustments that are necessary for the prosthesis to function correctly.

This patient bill of rights for the denture patient will include, but will in no means be limited to, a toll-free number to assure complaints are heard and addressed by the dental and denturist boards. This will help improve dental and denturist standards for those who cannot deal with the laborious complaint process that is currently in place. This includes senior citizens, those with disabilities, and limited income.

Dental and denturist offices will be required to have complaint forms in sight, along with contact address, and telephone numbers. This process will help save taxpayer dollars for Wyoming State and health care dollars for patients and will be worthy of future initiative and/or legislative efforts.

The “Wyoming Denturism Act” initiative can be seen at the Wyoming State Denturist Association website at http://www.wysda.org/ Thank you for your support and consideration in giving Wyoming’s people the same options that our neighbors Idaho and Montana have received for decades in Freedom of Choice for their denture care. For further information, please call the Wyoming Coalition for Freedom of Choice in Denture Care toll free number at 1-888-Dentur1 or 1-888-336-8871.

In His service,

Gary W. Vollan
P.O. Box 332
Basin, Wyoming 82410
vollan@tctwest.net
307-568-2047

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