Perceptions/Attitudes of Dental Professionals in Respect to the Introduction of a Midlevel Provider

Alfatlawi, Balssam, Candice Sargindo, Samantha Matteeka, Linda Kaddo, and Kathi Shepherd

The prospect of a mid-level provider like a Dental Therapist has been an area of discussion in the dental world. Aksu, Philips, and Scheafer have done many previous studies on people’s attitudes on the field of Dental Therapy. Allukian, Bird, and Evan, Jr are surprised that the ADA opposes the idea of a dental therapy program. They agree that during a time of complex access issues and evidence based medicine, dentistry, and public health, it is not the time to block innovative programs trying to serve the underserved. Limited data exists on the opinions of dental professionals regarding the integration of midlevel providers into the workforce as a means to increase access to oral health care. In this study we examine the case of integrating DTs/ADTs into the workforce it is important to understand the perceptions and attitudes of dentists and patients towards DTs, to explore the impact of DTs on productivity and finances to determine if this new provider model is financially sustainable, and to determine if their presence actually improves access to dental services by the underserved in our communities. We surveyed different dental professionals during a CE course. Results contraindicated each other in the sense that the need was agreed upon to be there but the idea of a midlevel provider was rejected. Like this study was a continuing of previous studies, results prove that more repeated studied need to be conducted to see the change of perceptions over time.