Open Letter to Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)

“In addition to comment on this proposed standards document, the Task Force on Development of Accreditation Standards for Dental Therapy Education Programs and Commission are seeking feedback related to the program track for dental therapy education. The proposed standards are presented as an independent dental therapy track not related to prior dental hygiene education, though advanced standing is permissible.”(1)

“The Task Force and Commission will accept comment on the proposed track as presented in this document. Specifically, is the non-dental hygiene track appropriate or should the proposed dental therapy education standards be modified to support a dental hygiene track?
Written comments on this question will be accepted until December 1, 2013.
Appendix VI Proposed Accreditation Standards for Dental Therapy Education CODA Winter 2013″(1)

To: Dr. Sherin Tooks, 19th Floor
Director, Commission on Dental Accreditation
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Dr. Sherin Tooks,

“Feedback related to the program track for dental therapy education. Specifically, is the non-dental hygiene track appropriate or should the proposed dental therapy education standards be modified to support a dental hygiene track?” (1)

Yes, the non-dental hygiene track is important and appropriate. There should also be a dental hygiene track with expanded duties but not to the extent of burdening the hygiene profession; displacing the hygiene profession from public health responsibilities and the time needed for preventive education corresponding with early childhood education.  Dental hygienists should be trained for public health emergencies, working side by side with public health nurses. 

Both tracks are important for meeting the oral healthcare needs of our nation. I served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War as a “Class A School” Dental Technician with duties and responsibilities as a chairside technician, dental hygienist, and lab technician. I was stationed with the Marines, at Parris Island, S.C. recruit depot. We had extended duties (depending on which dentist you worked with) that included simple extractions, suturing and removal, carving amalgams, giving injections, along with many others duties which would include helping the medical corpsmen with surgeries and procedures at other duty stations. 

“The dental therapist is a member of the oral healthcare team, who is supervised by a licensed dentist that is responsible for diagnosis, risk assessment, prognosis, and treatment planning for the patient.”(1)

The dental therapist concept has been a military concept and working model in branches of the U.S. military, providing oral health services to large numbers of recruits and military personnel (patients), especially when there were fewer dentists. The proposed DT accreditation standards for education look good. Thank you for your request of service.

Gary W. Vollan L.D., vollan@tctwest.net  307-568-2047
State Coordinator, Wyoming State Denturist Association
www.wysda.org

https://twitter.com/denturist2th

(1) http://www.ada.org/sections/educationAndCareers/pdfs/proposed_dental_therapy.pdf

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