Bill in Topeka could help solve sparse dental coverage

GREAT BEND, Kansas – Living in rural Kansas leaves many people without a lot of options for dental care.

Cherie Jacobs says that while there are dentists where she lives, there aren’t many, and the wait for an opening can be long.

“Yeah, I mean if I could get in sooner, a lot of the dentists are so booked, and if you have a filling that needs done or falls out, it takes two or three weeks to get into your regular dentist,” said Jacobs.

Now, there is a bill being debated in Topeka that would allow registered dental practitioners to perform minor dental surgeries.

But, it has some dentists worried.

“Well, we’re concerned that maybe someone who only has an additional 18 months of training, is there going to be a quality of care issue with that versus a dentist that has a four year degree and has been trained with all the restorative procedures,” said Dr. Larry Kutina.

Most dentists are not in favor of this bill because they are concerned with safety issues and the minimal training that dental practitioners would go through to perform some surgical procedures.

“A lot of certain procedures can seem very simple, very minor, and you just never know, you could have an emergency that could result from one of those procedures, and we just don’t know if that training is available and if that back up is available, to help you,” said Kutina.

But rural citizens like Judy Kachanes are excited that there might be more options.

“Because we have a lack of dentists, also it may be a money saving issue, so absolutely I’m for this.”

The bill to allow licensed registered dental practitioners was introduced last year and rolled over into this years legislative session.

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