Minnesota is the known for being the land of 10,000 lakes, hosting the Twin Cities and for having brutally cold winters. The state also receives accolades for being one of the healthiest states in the union. Compared to the rest of the country, Minnesotans can expect to live long health lives because of the percentage of residents that exercise regularly, the low levels of heart disease in town and for the sheer number of residents who have health insurance. In addition to those stats, Minnesota dental care policies are top notch and several local events have help Minnesota become a leader in the dental care revolution.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have long claimed that oral health problems are prevalent throughout a majority of Americans of all ages. According to the government agency approximately 25 percent of children aged 2 to five have tooth decay, 25 percent of all adults over age 65 have lost all their teeth and millions of adults are unwittingly walking around with undiagnosed gum disease. Despite the staggering numbers, the organization claims that most dental problems are preventable and Minnesota charities and policies makers have taken that to heart and are making serious contributions to advance the dental care revolution.
Annually, millions of school hours are lost due to children suffering from toothaches and dental pain caused by tooth decay. If left unchecked the oral condition can cause an inability to focus and learn, inhibited communication development and diminished self-esteem. Thanks to the charitable donations of the Delta Dental of Minnesota Trust, a new dental clinic dedicated to combating the problem is officially in the works.
According to the Dental Tribune the Delta Dental of Minnesota Trust made a $3.5 million gift to the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry with the goal of funding the state's only hospital-based dental clinic for children. Once opened, the University of Minnesota Pediatric Dental Clinic will become the most advanced pediatric dental clinic in the Upper Midwest (http://www.dental-tribune.com/articles/content/scope/news/region/usa/id/5882). All the funds are expected to go directly towards the development of the state-of-the-art dental office.
The interim dean of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, Dr. Judith Buchanan has stated "The new clinic will serve as a regional resource for children who need specialized dental care, will allow us to implement new delivery models of dental care, and will provide new opportunities for clinical education of general dentistry students, pediatric dentistry residents, and U of M medical students at the University of Minnesota," (http://www.dental-tribune.com/articles/content/scope/news/region/usa/id/5882).
Not only will Minnesota have a new facility targeting children's dental care, local policy makers changed local laws to allow the creation of a new type of dental care provider called a dental therapist to aid in dispensing dental treatments. The dental service position was authorized in 2009 due to the combine efforts of the Pew Childrenâ€™s Dental Campaign and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The organizations worked as a team with local public health advocates to secure legislation for two new types of dental providers called dental therapists and advanced dental therapists. Industry insiders say those positions are the "dental equivalent of a nurse practitioner" (http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/report_detail.aspx?id=60759).
The new role was created as a way to help ease the burden associated with a crisis regarding a shortage of dentists in-state and across the country at large. Reports indicate that from 1993 to 2000 the state experienced the greatest decrease in the dentist-to-population ratio of any state in the union. It was that imbalance that encouraged local public health advocates, lawmakers, dental health educators and other concerned citizens to figure out a better way to approach the local dental health crisis. Thanks to the team effort, the first class of local dental therapists is expected to graduate in 2011.
Although the local dental industry is a whirlwind of activity, individuals who need to ensure their charges get dental care or need the expertise of a dentist for their own teeth still have to find a dentist on their own. 1-800-DENTIST can make the task infinitely easier as we screen all our Minnesota dentist members for education, experience, office hours and more. That way patients in need do not have to conduct any research themselves and can simply make one phone call to investigate all viable Minnesota dentists.