Current Oral Health Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 147–154 | Cite as

Current Status of Adding Dental Therapists to the Oral Health Workforce in the United States

  • Kavita R. Mathu-MujuEmail author
  • Jay W. Friedman
  • David A. Nash
Dental Public Health (R Collins, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Dental Public Health


Dental therapists are members of the oral health care workforce in over 50 countries of the world. Until recently, they have not participated as members of the professional dental team in the USA. It was not until the publication of Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General in 2000, describing the significant problem of access to dental care, that the issue of dental therapists emerged in the USA in a significant manner. Details of the development of dental therapists in the workforce in the USA through 2011 were previously chronicled by Mathu-Muju. Since then, there has been a major increase in interest and licensing of dental therapists in a number of states. This article updates the dental therapist movement to the present time. The literature and activities of the movement will be reviewed by the categories of research, education, and legislation/practice, as well as analytical essays and commentaries.


Dental therapists Advocacy Access to care Education Legislation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Kavita R. Mathu-Muju, Jay W. Friedman, and David A. Nash declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kavita R. Mathu-Muju
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jay W. Friedman
    • 2
  • David A. Nash
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of DentistryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.American Public Health AssociationLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.University of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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