KAI Promotes Dental Therapists in This Week From Indian Country Today
American Indians and Alaska Natives have more untreated tooth decay and gum disease than any other population group. There are simply not enough dental professionals to meet the huge backlog of untreated disease—let alone to educate patients about oral health.
Frankly, there’s a lot of bad news. But there’s also at least one shining success story: the dental therapists in remote Alaska Native villages who are now bringing excellent routine dental care to a population of 35,000 people. Dental therapists do cleanings, fillings, and other routine procedures under the general supervision of a dentist. Most of the Alaska therapists are Native and many practice in their home communities.
Their story, new oral health findings, and the realities of growing up without access to regular dental care are spotlighted in a special editorial insert supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in the February 6 issue of This Week From Indian Country Today, the influential news magazine that serves Native American audiences. KAI, with the assistance of W.K. Kellogg Foundation communications team members, took the lead on producing the insert. We hope you’ll pick up a copy or visit the W.K. Kellogg Foundation site for enhanced content, including videos and fact sheets.
Adding dental therapists to the dental team is a sensible, practical thing to do. Indian Country needs dental therapists now.