A lot of work needed to get denturists recognized
Gary W. Vollan (Your Views, Aug. 6) seems to be gifted at rhetoric aimed at organized dentistry. What Vollan doesn't say is that there are very few trained denturists. Oklahoma outlawed the practice of dentistry by untrained, unlicensed practitioners. Because they were unlicensed there was no standard by which people could put themselves out as a “denturist.” Research found that dentures fabricated by unlicensed denture technicians were significantly poorer in quality when compared to those made by dentists and licensed denturists.
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The American Dental Association and various state dental boards had valid concerns when it comes to illegal practitioners and the quality of their care. If Vollan wants to legitimize his profession, he should make sure there's more than one program with a solid educational curriculum for denturists. This curriculum should encompass more than laboratory techniques and be subject to an accrediting organization. Once a significant number of trained denturists exist, they can organize and work with rather than around state governing bodies in order to ensure a high standard of care to the public. Most likely denturists would be required to work under the supervision of dentists so that medical concerns are properly addressed and infection control practices are at an acceptable level. Allowing illegal practitioners to go unchecked isn't in the best interest of public health. Vollan has a lot of work to do within his profession if he wants it recognized and it isn't the ADA's job to do that for him.
Justin Biggs, Oklahoma City
Biggs is a dentist who practices in Oklahoma City.
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