Expanding The Oral Health Workforce – Oral Health Watch

The oral health workforce remains unable to address the unmet need among populations across the state. Children have high levels of dental decay, nearly 60% among 3rd graders. More than 38% of all adults in Washington have had teeth removed due to decay or gum disease and 20% have lost all of their teeth. The need for oral health care will continue to increase as the state’s population grows and ages.

What the Legislature can do:

  • As the Legislature considers workforce issues, ensure that it is clear how any proposals improve access to care for underserved populations.
  • Sustain the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry Program (ABCD), which attracts many dentists to serve low-income children and participate in the Medicaid dental program.


Information about Washington’s Oral Health Workforce

Washington – Federally Designated Health Professional Shortage Areas for Dental Care -Map
Washington State Department of Health. (March 2015)

Washington State’s Oral Health Workforce – Report. Center for Health Workforce Studies. (November 2009).

Oral Health in Washington – Power Point.
Arcora Foundation. (September 2012).

Policy Briefs and Reports

The Foundation is acting to provide available resources on issues that deal with workforce. The Foundation is not taking a position on any workforce proposals.

Expanding the Dental Team: Increasing Access to Care in Public Settings (June 2014). The Pew Charitable Trusts

Expanding the Dental Team: Studies of Two Private Practices (February 2014). The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Economic Viability of Dental Therapists (May 2013) Community Catalyst.

White Paper: Expanding the Dental Safety Net (July 2012) The Pew Charitable Trusts.

New Oral Health Careers: It’s Not Just About the Training(February 2012) Ruth Ballweg MPA.

Two Kinds of Dental Shortage Fuel One Major Access Problem. (February 2011). The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Collaborative Practice in American Dentistry: Practice and Potential (January 2011) Center for the Health Professions at the University of San Francisco California.

It Takes a Team: How New Dental Providers Can Benefit Patients and Practices. (December 2010) The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Help Wanted: A Policy Maker’s Guide to New Dental Providers. (May 2009) The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Evaluation of the Dental Health Aide Therapist Workforce Model in Alaska
(October 2010) RTI International.

Training New Dental Health Providers in the U.S. (December 2009) W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Oral Health Efforts Under Way to Improve Children’s Access to Dental Services, but Sustained Attention Needed to Address Ongoing Concerns
(November 2010) U.S. Government Accountability Office.


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