England's chief dental officer advocates for dental therapists

England's chief dental officer, Dr. Barry Cockcroft, is advocating a greater role for dental therapists, saying they will help reduce waiting lists for patients.

Dr. Cockcroft wants changes in the current system to reduce patient waiting lists, according to a story on cosmeticdentistryguide.co.uk.

An English pilot program is now in place that has practices scheduling new checkups. The program's goal is to have a more preventive approach to oral healthcare, reducing the amount of caries and periodontal disease in the population. The program also has the goal of reducing government spending on dental care. Unfortunately, there are initial reports of increased waiting times.

To help reduce these waiting times, Dr. Cockcroft has suggested having dental therapists, who have three years of training instead of five years for dentists, perform some tasks so dentists will more time to perform more complex procedures. Patient waiting times also may be reduced.

Among the procedures Dr. Cockcroft suggests therapists perform are primary teeth extractions and fillings.

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