Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) and Sen. David Craig (R-Big Bend) have introduced legislation (SB 89/AB 81) that would create a new license under the Dental Examining Board for “dental therapists,” an intermediate level of dentistry practice between hygienists and dentists. Dental therapists would perform certain services under the general supervision of a dentist with a collaborative management agreement. The dentist need not be present for the dental therapist to practice. A single dentist may have collaborative agreements with no more than five dental therapists at a time.
Similar legislation failed to pass last session, due primarily to opposition from the Wisconsin Dental Association.
The Senate Committee on Health & Human Services held a public hearing on the bill on Aug. 21. An Assembly hearing on the bill was held on Dec. 18.
Despite such broad support, due to opposition from the Wisconsin Dental Association, the legislation appears stalled. The Assembly committee chairperson has already stated the legislation is unlikely to advance unless a compromise is struck with the Wisconsin Dental Association.