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Policy: Health Care

Maine groups supporting dental hygiene therapists

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Associated Press,Health Care

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A coalition is continuing its effort to create a new category of dental hygienists in Maine aimed at providing more people access to affordable dental care.

Dental Access for ME says it is launching a new campaign to urge support of a bill that would create a new license for dental hygiene therapists, who could do some procedures like filling cavities and pulling teeth. Dental hygienists could become dental hygiene therapists after schooling, 1,000 clinical hours and an exam.

The bill was carried over from last session and is expected to be taken up when the Democratic-controlled Legislature returns in January.

The group says many areas in Maine are experiencing a dentist shortage. It says Minnesota and Alaska and 53 other countries already allow dental therapists.

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