Below is a comment posted about an article published in the Seattle Times about the need for dental therapists. But first what is needed is prevention: no sugar toxic food and drinks!
"I'm a dentist working in rural Alaska for the past ten years and before that 20 years in private practice in the inner city of Seattle. Let me state first of, that while the premise of the writer is correct in that many people do not have adequate access to dental care, the solution is not to water down the standard of care.
I have flown thousands of miles in bush planes and traveled by boat into villages that are essentially one huge candy store. Coke is the primary drink with some villages averaging 12 cans per day. Most bush planes I've flown on are stocked with Coke and.....the dentist.
The solution, in a nutshell, is to provide proper nutrition in the first place.
The teeth are simply a small part of the body that suffers from a poor diet with obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc. rampant in most rural areas. Local leaders are not interested in changing their kid's diets and the heads of most of the public and native-owned clinics are too pc to take a stand. After ten years of sticking my finger in the dike, I simply quit dentistry.
In short, the answer is to improve the diet and hygiene, everything else will fall into place. PS: The model developed on the New Zealand one is flawed in that it recruites high school grads, not college grads as does the anagalous PA programs.