Archive for February, 2011

Wyoming State Denturist Association or Committee Looks at Changes to Denturist Bill: by K…

February 5, 2011

Wyoming State Denturist Association or Committee Looks at Changes to Denturist Bill: by K…: “For the sixth straight year, Rep. Lorraine Quarberg (R-HD28, Thermopolis) and Sen. Gerry Geis (R-SD20, Worland) have been working to pass a …”


Committee Looks at Changes to Denturist Bill: by Karla Pomeroy

February 4, 2011

For the sixth straight year, Rep. Lorraine Quarberg (R-HD28, Thermopolis) and Sen. Gerry Geis (R-SD20, Worland) have been working to pass a bill that would allow licensed denturists to practice in Wyoming on their own.
This session, the bill is originating in the Senate and SF49 is before the Health and Labor Committee. Geis and Basin denturist Gary Vollan both testified in favor of the bill before the committee.
Vollan said he thought the chances of the bill advancing past committee “look pretty good.” He added that he appreciates the work of the local legislators on the bill.
Geis said the committee plans on making some amendments to the bill before taking action. He said the timeline for moving the bill forward is getting tight. Friday is the last day for bills to be reported out of committee in the “house of origin.” And Monday is the final day for first reading for bills that originate in the Senate or the House.
“I’d like to see it go (approved),” Geis said.
As Wyoming law currently stands, licensed denturists cannot open a practice in the state. Vollan currently works as chairside assistant and dental laboratory technician with Nelson and Page Dental PC in Worland.
SF49 (Wyoming Denture Practice Act) as its currently written, would set up a State Board of Denturists, provide for licensing and allow denturists to practice in the state.
Geis said his understanding of some of the changes the Health and Labor Committee may look at is having denturists work under the auspice of a licensed dentist, similar to how a nurse practitioner works under the oversight of a physician.
Vollan said some of the arguments against allowing denturists to practice don’t hold up. He said there is concern that denturists would diagnose and begin practicing dentistry.
“We don’t diagnose. If we notice unhealthy tissue we refer the patient to the appropriate dentist or oral physician,” Vollan said.
Under the bill, a denturist is defined as a person licensed under this article to engage in the practice of denturism; ’Practice of denturism’ means: (A) Making, placing, constructing, altering, reproducing or repairing a denture; and (B) Taking impressions and furnishing or supplying a denture directly to a person or advising the use of a denture and maintaining a facility for the same.”
Vollan said opponents of the bill state that the school denturists go to is not accredited. He said Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Wash., is accredited but noted that the denturist program at the college has been stymied by dental associations from getting accredited.
Vollan and Geis said it is uncertain at this time to know exactly what changes will be made Wednesday. “The changes will be interesting, but it’s going to be a start,” Vollan said.
“This is about the people of Wyoming and providing accessible and affordable denture care for them,” Vollan said. He said denturists can offer denture care at about half the cost of dentists. He said surrounding states including Montana and Idaho have licensed denturists and it gives people a choice in caring for their dentures.
“We do all the impressions, bite registrations and lab work. There’s no middle man,” he said.
Along with working on legislators to approve a bill, Vollan in 2007 attempted to get an initiative on the ballot to let the people decide. He had obtained 17,000 signatures from 17 counties in Wyoming before family obligations made him cutback on his initiative work and they fell short of the required signatures.
“It showed it’s something the Wyoming people want,” Vollan said.
He said there are three other denturists in Wyoming, with inquiries annually from others that would like to come and practice in Wyoming.

Karla Pomeroy, Editor
Basin Republican Rustler
P.O. Box 640
Basin, WY 82410
FAX 568-2459

Dentists Oppose Wyoming Denturist Bill SF49 Moving Forward

February 4, 2011

Wyoming Denturist Bill SF49 Moving Forward February 4, 2011

The hearing Monday for the denturist bill, SF49 went well with Senator Geis testifying, then Representative Quarberg, and then myself. The room was full of dentists and their associates. As expected they gave unsupportive testimony for denturist and oral health issues, yet the state dental boards and the American Dental Association continues to allow oral piercings to take place in our children’s mouths across our Nation. Denturists do no invasive or irreversible procedures.

The dentists once again attacked our denturist education program at Bates Technical School as not being accredited knowing that the American Dental Association’s accreditation agency, CODA, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (seal of approval), will not accredit a denturist program. There was no mention that Bates is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Education. The dentists accused the denturist profession of being in a non-progressive state; this being in response to Chairman Scott asking two of the dentists, “with Montana and Idaho and four other states regulating denturists, what was their opinion of the future of the denturist profession”. Chairman Scott suggested that the dentist find ways to make this work, the dentists responded that there wasn’t a need for denturists and they weren’t interested.

The dentists that testified represented the Wyoming Dental Board, the Wyoming Dental Association and one dentist referred to his generational decades of dental practice. Not one dentist mentioned denturist legislation introduced in Kentucky and other states like Maine that improves the existing denture delivery system. They never mentioned, the court cases taking place across our nation, with denturists and their families fighting state dental boards so they can provide denturists services they’ve been trained and educated to provide. They didn’t mention the progressive state of our graduates from Bates and the denturist colleges across Canada that work with community clinics and convalescent centers in regulated states, to provide affordable denture care. They didn’t mention the many denture laboratory technicians across our Nation who work for dentists for low competitive fees; having to bushwhack dentures on the side to friends and friends of friends so they’re able to make a living.

The dentists that testified never mentioned the many economically disadvantaged people that would never step across their dental office threshold for denture care because they know they can’t afford their denture services but these same people will go to the denturist. The dentists did not mention that denturists are on the front lines of oral health care in recognizing healthy tissue and referring these people out to a dentists, oral surgeons or medical doctors that will empathize with their economic situation. The dentists didn’t mention the states work associated with the success and reputation of regulating the denturist profession, that includes referral service between denturists and other professions, licensing, compliance, and continuing education all working together for the patients best interest. This is all about a progressive profession.

After the testimonies the vote was to make amendments to the bill then take a vote on Wednesday. The bill was trimmed down to denturist working with dentists and denturists have to be licensed as denturists and it was passed out of committee with a 3 to 2 vote. It goes to the Senate floor Friday, to be voted on. It isn’t much when it passes in representing the needs of affordable denture care because we will be under the dentists overhead, however, quality denture care will be addressed and as most denturists know, quality denture care is a shortcoming for most dentists. They don’t have the chair-time that is needed for dentures. So please consider this as an opportunity, a foot in the door for denturists who want to live in Wyoming. I see it as a reason to celebrate; the Wyoming State Legislator’s recognition of the denturist profession. The Wyoming Silver Haired Legislators have worked hard to lobby the cause. Representative Quarberg and Senator Geis have worked hard to bring the bill forward for the sixth legislative session and I’m thankful to the Senate, Labor, Health and Social Service Committee. A good number of Wyoming people have worked hard to show the need for the denturist profession. There is still a lot of work to do after SF49 passes. I’m a praying man and I’m ready to go to work.

Gary W. Vollan L.D.