Representative Mary Felzkowski and Senator David Craig are circulating LRB 1947/1 for co-sponsorship. This legislation would create a pathway for licensing dental therapists in Wisconsin. Dental therapists must graduate from a training program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, the same entity which oversees the rigorous training of both dentists and dental hygienists.
Dental therapists would be licensed by the Wisconsin Dentistry Examining Board and would be required to complete 12 credits of continuing education each biennium between renewals. The bill would also allow two seats for dental therapists on the Wisconsin Dentistry Examining Board once the first license is issued. This provider would work under general supervision of a dentist and require a collaborative management agreement with a practicing dentist. Providing dental practices with the option to include these well-trained dental professionals on their teams will allow for increased access to care, lower practice costs and savings for the state—all without compromising quality of care.
The Wisconsin Oral Health Coalition (WOHC) previously adopted a policy on workforce models which aligns with this current legislation. The model must include a provider who gains professional licensure, graduates from an accredited institution and increases access to care. This bill meets the criteria set by the coalition for support. The WOHC has signed on to support this bill along with more than 30 different organizations.
To learn more about dental therapy in Wisconsin, review this myths and facts document. The Wisconsin Oral Health Coalition would also like to remind individuals to utilize our Advocacy Toolkit to connect with elected officials. This toolkit provides information for effective engagement with decision makers. It is vital that legislators hear from constituents they serve.