CDA examines workforce, access-to-care issues

The January issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association continues to examine issues relating to the dental workforce and address barriers to oral healthcare by featuring studies commissioned by the California Dental Association (CDA) that helped shape the recommendations made in a three-phase access report filed by the 2011 CDA House of Delegates.

"Central to the access proposal is the need to develop a dental public health infrastructure in California," said Kerry Carney, DDS, editor-in-chief of the journal, in a press release.

An article, titled "California's State Oral Health Infrastructure: Opportunities for Improvement and Funding," details the benefits of a dental public health infrastructure and documents lost opportunities in California and lessons learned from states with successful state oral health programs. Sustainable changes to oral health programs must be supported at the highest levels of state government, according to the article.

"Advanced Dental Education Programs: Status and Implications for Access to Care in California" provides a comprehensive exploration of dental residency programs and describes the history, funding, opportunities, and challenges of advanced dental education programs for general dentists.

"Are Procedures Performed by Dental Auxiliaries Safe and of Comparable Quality? A Systematic Review" evaluates the safety and quality of irreversible dental procedures performed by nondentist providers worldwide.

Finally, "Economic Feasibility of Alternative Practitioners for Provision of Dental Care to the Underserved" assesses the viability of alternative practitioner models for dental therapists, dental health aide therapists, and advanced dental hygiene practitioners, for provision of dental care to the underserved.

"I believe that an evidence-based approach to these issues, and a robust discussion by the profession will be positive for both the profession and the public," Dr. Carney said.

The discussion will continue in CDA's March issue of the journal, which will also focus on access to care and feature articles on the remaining studies.

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