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The Stranger Highlights Donald Chi in Article on Dental Therapy

Posted: 2/29/2020 (CSDE in the News and CSDE Research)

A recent article in The Stranger claims that 37 of Washington’s 39 counties are short on dental health care professionals—this shortage especially affects the well-being of low-income and rural populations of Washington. This article highlights CSDE Affiliate Donald Chi’s research to describe a solution for the shortage: dental therapy. According Chi’s 2018 study on dental therapy, featured in the article and co-authored by CSDE Science Lead Matt Dunbar, increases in dental therapists within Alaska Native communities have led to improved preventative care practices and fewer extractions. The article also features Chi’s testimony for HB 1317 in which Chi states that about 15,000 fewer children would no longer need front tooth extractions with dental therapists in Washington.

The article quotes Chi, “Ask any dentist, myself included, and they’ll agree that these extractions are the hardest thing to do emotionally. When you think about the impact on young children and families—the ability to bite into an apple, and to smile with a full set of teeth—it’s huge…Dental therapists can make a difference.”


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