Maryland dentists' perceptions and attitudes toward dental therapy

Anna L. Davis, Hossein Zare, Rachael McCleary, Oshin Kanwar, Elliott Tolbert, Darrell J. Gaskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To learn dentists' perceptions, attitudes, and concerns about the problems of access to oral health care for low income and rural Marylanders and to ascertain whether the dentists believe dental therapy is a viable solution. Methods: We conducted three focus group discussions of 27 dentists during August and September 2018 in three locations in urban and rural areas of Maryland. Results: Focus group participants felt that problems with access to dental care for low income and rural Marylander were not due to a shortage of dental providers. They believed there are more than enough dentists in the state. Access problems in Maryland are due in large part to inadequate insurance coverage and low oral health literacy. With the exception of one participant, the dentists would not use dental therapists in their practices to expand access. Conclusions: Maryland dentists in our focus group strongly oppose the use of dental therapists to address the state's unmet oral health care needs. Any effort to expand the state's dental workforce using dental therapists must address Maryland dentists' concerns and opinions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of public health dentistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • access to dental care
  • dental therapists
  • focus group
  • oral health.
  • unmet needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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