The Arc Massachusetts Continues Advocacy for Dental Therapist Licensure

The Arc Massachusetts is continuing to seek passage of S. 1169, which creates a system of licensure for dental therapists. Massachusetts has a severe shortage of dentists who serve people with I/DD, and even fewer accept Medicaid. The purpose of the bill is to address this shortage of dental services for underserved populations, including those with I/DD. The bill requires that the curriculum for dental therapists include training on working with patients with I/DD. Maura Sullivan, Director of Government Affairs for the chapter testified before the Massachusetts General Court’s Joint Committee on Public Health. She discussed her challenges finding quality dental care for her son, Neil and Tyler, who have autism and mitochondrial disease. Their dentist ignored tooth decay until it was severe enough to require hospitalization and anesthesia because he was unable to treat them without it. She stated, “They deserve better care, more effort and I needed more communication and oral hygiene support strategies.”