Clinical technical performance of dental therapists in Alaska
Bader, J. D., Lee, J. Y., Shugars, D. A., Burrus, B., & Wetterhall, S. (2011). Clinical technical performance of dental therapists in Alaska. Journal of the American Dental Association, 142(3), 322-326.
Background. The Alaska Dental Health Aide Therapist program has matured to the point that therapists have been in practice for up to four years. Methods. A case-study evaluation of the program included assessments of the clinical technical performance of five of these therapists practicing in clinics in small Alaskan villages and towns. Results. The results indicate that therapists are performing at an acceptable level, with short-term restorative outcomes comparable with those of dentists treating the same populations. Conclusions. Therapists' performance when operating within their scope of practice suggested no reason for continued close scrutiny. Further evaluations of therapists should shift their principal focus from clinical technical performance of therapists to effectiveness of the therapist program in improving the targeted population's oral health. Clinical Implications. Therapists are capable of providing acceptable restorative treatment under indirect supervision