Dental Hygienists

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Dental Hygienists

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You Don’t Need to Be a Dentist to Fill a Cavity

Some days you can find Christy Jo Fogarty at Children’s Dental Services in Minneapolis, checking kids for cavities. Other times she’s at an elementary school or driving a mobile clinic to towns beyond the suburbs, where shopping centers abruptly give way to cornfields.

Many of the 4,000 children she sees each year have never been to a dentist, Ms. Fogarty says. As a dental therapist, she focuses on those without much access to care—something all too common in Minnesota’s immigrant and rural communities. Only about one-third of dentists nationally, according to a 2014 survey by the American Dental Association, take patients covered by public assistance, such as Medicaid.

Ms.…

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Last Updated : Monday, June 15, 2020