Simona Surdu

DrBicuspid.com

The number of US pediatric dentists is expected to grow by more than 60% through 2030, according to new research commissioned by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). Without major policy shifts, this drastic increase in supply could overtake demand for services.

The dental industry is in a time of transition — more dentists are postponing retirement and an increasing number of students are enrolled in dental school. A study published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association explored how these trends may affect pediatric dentistry (July 2019, Vol. 150:7, pp. 609-617).

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MedicalXpress.com

Research conducted by the University at Albany’s Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS) finds that in states where dental hygienists are allowed by law to practice at higher levels of professional competence and skill, the population’s oral health notably improves. The paper, published in Health Affairs‘ December 2016 thematic issue on , examines impacts of “scope of practice” on oral health outcomes. Scope of practice for health professionals is defined by individual states’ laws and regulations, which describe permissible settings, allowable services, and requisite supervision by other health professionals.

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DrBicuspid.com

Does expanding a hygienist’s scope of practice translate to improved oral healthcare at the state level? Researchers from New York believe it does, according to the results of a survey published this month in Health Affairs. With the debates about dental therapists and dental telemedicine ongoing, researchers from the University at Albany in New York updated a previous study to investigate if hygienists with an expanded practice options could reduce the oral disease burden. “Scope of practice for dental hygienists … had a positive and significant association with having no teeth removed because of decay or disease,” wrote lead study author Margaret Langelier and colleagues (Health Affairs, December 2016, Vol. 35:12, pp. 2207-2215).

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