Utilization of nondentist providers and attitudes toward new provider models: findings from the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network

J Public Health Dent. 2013 Summer;73(3):237-44. doi: 10.1111/jphd.12020. Epub 2013 May 14.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to quantify, within the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network, current utilization of dental hygienists and assistants with expanded functions and quantify network dentists' attitudes toward a new nondentist provider model - the dental therapist.

Methods: National Dental Practice-Based Research Network practitioner-investigators participated in a single, cross-sectional administration of a questionnaire.

Results: Current nondentist providers are not being utilized by network practitioner-investigators to the fullest extent allowed by law. Minnesota practitioners, practitioners in large group practices, and those with prior experience with expanded-function nondentist providers delegate at a higher rate and had more-positive perceptions of the new dental therapist model.

Conclusions: Expanding scopes of practice for dental hygienists and assistants has not translated to the maximal delegation allowed by law among network practices. This finding may provide insight into dentists' acceptance of newer nondentist provider models.

Keywords: delivery of dental care; dental auxiliaries; dental group practices; dental practice patterns.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical*