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denturist makes dentures for denture patients, yet he or she is not a licensed dentist. In the US, only a handful of states permit denturists to practice independently; in some other states, denturists can work under the supervision of a dentist.
Dentists aren’t enthusiastic about the practice of denturism, this survey found. Only 10% of dentists feel that denturists increase denture patients’ access to care. The remaining 90% believe patients should only get dentures from a dentist or prosthodontist.
Lowering health care standards
- “If we are going to lower health care standards in this country, why not just allow operating room nurses to perform all medical operations? Won't surgery be a lot cheaper, and won't it allow greater ‘access to care’ if we just get rid of all the doctors entirely?” (California dentist)
- “The denturist has no training whatsoever when it comes to diagnosing oral health problems. The public at large would be jeopardized if denturists were allowed to give direct patient care.” (Wyoming
The role of prosthetics
- “Is it any different than a lay person fitting a patient for any kind of prosthetic?” (Florida dentist)
- “Providing professional dental care is more than just the physical making of a prosthesis." (General dentist)
- “Would you get a prosthetic arm or leg from someone who is not a physician? I hope not! Then, why in some states is the public able to get their oral prosthetics from someone who is not a prosthodontist or general dentist? If something goes wrong with the prosthesis, that affects other teeth, hard or soft tissues, etc. There is nobody more qualified than a dentist or prosthodontist to treat the situation.” (Ohio prosthodontist)
Full dentures are less popular now
- "Complete dentures are declining in number anyway. It is a rarer procedure now than when I started practice 30 years ago.” (Georgia dentist)
- “I understand some dental schools aren't even including full dentures in their curriculum these days. How can we counter denturism if we don't even value the service enough to teach it in dental schools?” (New York dentist)
- “Recent graduates have no clue how to make a denture that will work. The same can be said for most GPs.” (California dentist)
Patients deserve a higher quality of denture care
- “Dentures are much more difficult to do correctly than a lab technician realizes. Correct CR is very difficult to achieve, even for seasoned dentists. Without doing a good bite registration, the denture is useless. Patients deserve the best the profession has to offer. If a denturist does not get the denture right, what then? When a dentist does a denture, he is responsible for that denture. He pretty well covers that denture as long as that patient stays a patient of the dentist. What kind of follow-up can a denturist provide? Would he have an office open at least 5 days a week? Currently patients have plenty of access to care. There are plenty of dental offices that do dentures. Dentists already are having difficulty keeping their chairs occupied." (General dentist)
- “I am very frustrated with the continued fragmentation of dentistry as a profession. Teeth whitening at the mall, nail salon, and the photography studio. Dental injections at medi-spas for Botox and Juvaderm treatments. Then we have to contend with the reduction of payments for the services that we still do. That is, until they decide that dental hygienists can also do fillings in their own private practices." (General dentist)
- "Stop splitting up the profession!” (Texas dentist)
Dentists provide quality care
- "The health of the mouth (bone and tissue) should be assessed by a dentist, and the dentures should be prescribed and fitted by a licensed dentist." (North Carolina oral surgeon)
- “There is more to treating these patients than meets the eye! Such as oral pathology, reading the radiographs, making proper impressions, occlusion etc. It took us Docs some time to learn these skills. We do have to think, what is best for the patient?!” (Virginia dental implant dentist)
Dissatisfied denture customers
- “Our DA just indicted a lab tech (a denturist) who hade made many patients unhappy, uncomfortable and feeling ripped off.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
- "One near my practice does a very good job for most patients and I get those who are unhappy. They have, however, really reduced the number of full and partial dentures that I do."
- "I live in Oregon and denturists are one of my best unwitting referral sources because when they can’t and don’t know what they’re doing the patients end up seeking dentists to fix their problems. Patients learn that what they thought was a cheap fix wasn’t. The old idea that you get what you pay for really is true." (General dentist)
- “I hate to say it, but I cannot compete with their fees, and many patients just cannot afford me. Many need access to a less expensive option.” (Texas dentist)
- “Hopefully we will not go back to the 1960's when ‘trained’ on-site technicians were making dentures, crowns and bridges, and the barber was doing extractions.” (Texas dentist)
Note: Survey sample included 103 respondents. Posted 6/15/2010