Group Discusses Dental Needs

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Health care advocates hope a new type of provider can fill a hole in dental care in Kansas.

A coalition of more than 40 health care professionals and advocates met Tuesday to learn about the Kansas Dental Project.

It's proposing the state approve licensing a mid-level provider called a Registered Dental Practitioner. The person would have training between a hygenist and a full-fledged dentist. The person could do all preventative care and routine restorative care.

Suzanne Wikle with Kansas Action for Children says Kansas has a big problem with people being able to access appropriate dental care. She says 99 counties do not have enough dentists to serve all populations and oral health remains the number one chronic childhood illness - more common than asthma. She says the mid-level provider could fill that gap.

The Kansas Dental Project hopes to introduce legislation for the registered dental practitioner in the upcoming session.