Dental TherapistsDentistryPresident 2012Tim Pawlenty

President 2012: Is Tim Pawlenty A Friend of Dentists?

Republican Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announces that he is running for President in Des Moines, Iowa, May 23, 2011

Not in my book.

The legislative battle over what have come to be known as “midlevel providers” in Minnesota has come to a close.

What began as two distinct models of education and practice emerged as one with the state creating a new position—the dental therapist—who will provide care for underserved patient populations in the state.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed Senate File 2083 May 16, creating the dental therapist, a licensed provider with a bachelor’s degree in dental therapy who will work with Minnesota-licensed dentists to provide preventive dental services, restoration of primary and permanent teeth, extraction of primary teeth and select other dental treatments.

Governor Pawlenty signed the legislation and now will be held accountable. Pawlenty is not a fan of dentistry no matter how the American Dental Association or anyone else spins it. He could have vetoed the legislation.

Dental therapists or mid-level providers will fracture American dentistry into multiple tiers of care and help undermine private practice while increasing Big Government control of my profession.

Sorry, Tim. I will support and vote for someone else.